Recycling rates in North Devon has increased during 2018 thanks to changes introduced over the last 18 months.

In June 2017 the council introduced a weekly food waste collection service across the district, and started a recycling trial.

Some 3,400 properties were included in the three-weekly black bin collections trial, with recycling rates doubling.

Before the trial, 23 per cent of household waste was recycled and 77 per cent went to landfill.

But since the trial started, 51 per cent of waste is now recycled and only 49 per cent goes to landfill. A decision on whether this will be rolled-out is anticipated this year.

From February 11, all black bag waste from the district will be taken to a new waste transfer station currently being built at Brynsworthy.

There it will be compacted and directed to another plant, where it will be converted into energy rather than buried in the ground.

Other successes throughout 2018 included the introduction of a new heavy-duty recycling bag in part of Ilfracombe, chosen because its residents have reported problems with litter escaping from recycling boxes during windy weather.

The bags can be sealed to keep plastic and tins safe inside instead of blowing into the street.

Progress of the trial will be reviewed after three and six months.

A plastic free consortium was also set up in 2018, including Torridge District Council and a range of businesses and organisations.

The aim of the group is to work together to eradicate single-use plastics in North Devon.

NDC's executive member for the environment, Councillor Rodney Cann said: "We are delighted with the progress we've made with our waste and recycling service in 2018, and we are extremely grateful to the people of North Devon for embracing these changes.

"More people are recycling than ever before, less waste is going to landfill, and there has been a huge shift in people's attitudes towards single-use plastics.

"I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has made an effort to recycling in 2018.We still have a long way to go, but together we are working towards a brighter future for North Devon."

This year the council will be encouraging households to cut down on the amount of food waste. Currently it is collecting 60 tons of food waste a week.