A thousand households around here will have their black bags of mixed rubbish collected only once every three weeks, starting November – and the experiment is likely to clear the way for a similar pattern throughout the borough.

Meanwhile, this summer, all households served by West Devon Borough Council will get extra bags and boxes for recycling and an updated list of materials which will be accepted for recycling from October – to include plastic food containers, cardboard-based drinks containers, printer cartridges and metal foil, for the first time in these parts.

The go-ahead to spend money on the changes was given at a meeting on Tuesday (June 4) of the new central Hub Committee of the new West Devon Council, elected a month ago and already committed to a green agenda. Nobody spoke against the idea, although some questions were asked.

Bin lorries will continue to make their rounds weekly. But in the area of the experiment – yet to be chosen – they will be be picking up only sorted waste for recycling on a weekly basis.  The idea is to encourage people to put more effort into recycling so they have fewer black bags of leftovers.

Most of the 20 or so councils which have already gone down this route, including East Devon, have claimed that it works. Devon County Council, which deals with disposal, pays bonuses for diverting tonnage from landfill or incineration so it should not cost any more in the long run, according to a report presented to our local councillors.

But West Devon needs to troubleshoot the new system on its own territory. And if they hang on, they might be constrained by new national targets which might include a fortnightly rubbish collection, because longer intervals are an unpopular idea at Westminster.

A council working party will now choose a swathe of the borough for the experiment which will have to include some multi-occupancy housing and some hard-to-reach rural locations. And there will be no opting out. All affected residents will be told they are in the experiment, like it or not, at least until June 2020, when the Hub Committee will get a report on results.

At this week’s meeting to give the final green light, Councillor Jeff Moody (Tavistock North) asked about disposable nappies and incontinence pads. He said one child could easily go through 8-10 nappies a day, amounting to 200 over three weeks.

The council’s commissioning officer for waste services, Jane Savage, said special collections could be arranged where “offensive waste” was a particular problem, but most people could manage by double-wrapping. And Cllr Caroline Mott, the Hub Committee’s specialist on environment issues, said the education programme running alongside the new system would try to encourage a return to “real” nappies.

The garden waste collection will continue as at present, for subsribers only.

The council wants to set up a network of Recycling Champions to distribute advisory information and channel questions back. Volunteer, by email, to

Meanwhile, Cllr Mott took on some questions raised by the Horrabridge Times …

Q; Will the new materials to be collected actually be recycled, or is it a matter of assessing whether they could be cost-effectively recycled if the collection pattern was rolled out in the longer term?

A: All households will be able to recycle the additional items from October 2019 and this is not subject to a trial. It is only the black bag collection which is subject to a trial, for around 1000 households. All items collected for recycling will be recycled. The additional items offered form part of our new contract with FCC Environment, who have access to sustainable end markets for these items.

Q: Will householders be required to do more sorting into more bins – and if so how many bins?

A: As we will be collecting more recyclables at the kerbside, residents will need an additional container for their recycling, which we will be introducing. This container will be used alongside the existing boxes. Residents will receive plenty of information advising them which items go in each container as well as replacement stickers for their existing boxes.

Q: Are the recycling bins themselves recyclable when they break?

A: The recycling boxes are recyclable. When we are notified of a damaged box we arrange for it to be collected, usually when delivering the replacement. The damaged containers are sent to a manufacturer who use the plastic to create new products, such as wheelie bins or new recycling boxes.

Q: Will the experiment include picking up cardboard which is too bulky to fit in a standard bin?

A: Our policy on placing cardboard out for collection will remain unchanged – Larger sized card can be left at the side of your recycling boxes. If you have large quantities of cardboard, or anything over 75cm (3 feet)  long, which is the size of the opening on the vehicle, this needs to be taken to your local recycling centre.

Q: On a slightly different angle, which is a topic round this way, are dog poop bins emptied into the organic waste lorry or a dedicated lorry and where does it all go?

A: The contents of the dog waste bins are collected and mixed with waste collected from litter bins. Dog waste can be disposed of in dog waste bins or general waste litter bins, which is sent to the MVV Devonport Energy from Waste Facility.

* Alert for local councillors and club treasurers … The Hub Committee also approved a new fund which will give councillors £500 each to donate to causes of benefit to their home wards. But there was some concern that other small pots of grant money were already going unclaimed because fund raisers did not know they were there, the claims process was too difficult, or there were too many restrictions on how the money could be spent. The council is to produce a guide and consult with parishes. Meanwhile, there is a surprising shortage of applicants for the remaining discretionary grant pots.


* Friday (June 7)

The Kit Hill Billies at the Leaping Salmon from 9 pm – first-class covers of Johnny Cash and other great country, rockabilly and bluegrass, by a Bere peninsula band, plus some nice comedy of their own. Shout up for I Been Everywhere Man with local namechecks.

Calstock Arts promising a guest appearance by guitar legend John Williams, in support of his daughter, Kate, who is playing in a jazz ensemble called Four Plus Three.

Royal Cornwall Show (also Saturday).

Bovey Tracey Craft Festival (also Saturday).

Rocketman opens at The Wharf.

* Saturday (June 8))

Buckland Monachorum Fair and running races.

Locals Go Free day at The Garden House, Buckland – take ID with address.

* Sunday (June 9)

Open Farm Sunday. When we last looked, the nearest participant was Pizwell Farm at Postbridge, PL20 6TN, run by Frank and Sue Martin, open 12.30-4.30, phone 880223. No dogs. £1 entry to cover Portaloo costs. For other possibilities see

* Tuesday (June 11)

Les Miserables opens at Theatre Royal.

* Thursday (June 13)

Old Herbaceous: Outdoor theatre at The Garden House, 7-9 pm.

For more events and more details, check our What’s On calendar, regularly updated, at


* This week’s Lunchtime Lecture at The Wharf was by John Rundle, a project manager for many years for the Marine Biological Association when it had its headquarters on the Hoe – also still the chairman of the Plymouth Fishkeepers Society.

He explained how he had bred whelks, dogfish, squid, cuttlefish, and all sorts of other aquatic animals by thinking about their natural environment and finding a way to imitate it. Children’s play sand did the trick as a floor which dogfish and rays liked to hide in, for example. The Bumblee Goby found a bit of plumbing pipe a suitable cave. Emptying the tank and refilling it imitated the monsoon flood and got Amazon catfish going. An infusion made from lettuce seeds turned out to be the right nutrient for baby tetras..

Mr Rundle opened his talk with a warning against starting an aquarium with guppies: one of the cheapest and most popular exotic fish for temperate aquariums. Once fertilised once, he said, a female guppy could produce 60 offspring a month for six months and the resulting chaos and cannibalism put a lot of people off.

Next week’s talk – a fiver including tea and cake – is on Tuesday June 10: Robert Hesketh on Castles of Devon.

* Penguin has published what sounds like a good warts-and-all account of the crucial battle which started in this week in 1944: D Day & The Battle For Normandy, by Anthony Beevor.

The author points out that the village twinning arrangement is with a part of France which has good reason to feel a bit ambivalent about the way it was liberated.

One of the British tactics was to cut off bridges which the Germans might use to send in more tanks, by bombing along the Loire and Seine, at a cost of 20,000 French civilian lives and 100,000 serious casualties in Normandy before the invasion started and many more got caught in the crossfire afterwards.

A resident of Caen told Beevor: “Imagine being a rat sewn inside a football in an international match.”


Before you go, please check our Postboard page – a free advertising space for leaflets and posters of local interest, plus a regular Cartoon Of The Week. Find it HERE

allfornow …

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Editor of The Horrabridge Times.

1 Comment

  1. If the council are going to collect black bag rubbish I would surgest that people are stopped from NOT using there gray bin for food waste, if people use there black bags for food by the end of thee weeks the contents of some bags will be a health hassard.which I think would encourage rats and the like

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