Waste row

SIR - Councillors at their meeting on Wednesday, June 22 expressed surprise and concern that a market leader such as Tesco had decided to end its partnership with local authorities for the provision of recycling banks at its stores and had decided to introduce their own scheme.

This move seems to have been based on a misunderstanding that local authorities were no longer able to support this service due to funding problems. Nothing could be further from the truth. In Devon a small profit is made by recycling the materials collected in the recycling banks and being obliged to remove the well-used recycling facilities at Tesco stores has increased the cost of the councils waste services by some �95,000 rather than reduced them..

Sadly, Tesco is not prepared to release the tonnage statistics relating to their own banks, unless a payment of some �62,000 is made, which hard pressed councils are unable to do. Thus, Devon’s superb recycling rate will be adversely affected by their decision unless they reconsider this position which they have indicated they may be prepared to do.

However, possibly the most damaging outcome is that Tesco has decided to collect paper and cardboard together in the same recycling bank. All local authorities collect only paper in their paper banks to avoid the risk of contamination as the paper reprocessor used does not accept cardboard in the mix. Members of the public find it difficult to accept that all recycling banks aren’t the same and if it is ok to put cardboard in at Tesco’s they are likely to do so in the other paper banks. Sadly, this would be likely to lead to loads being rejected by the reprocessor the councils use, leading to expensive landfill of what otherwise would be a high quality material.

Tesco have also introduced their own style and colour schemes for their banks and have not adopted the County wide branding associated with the very successful “Don’t let Devon go to waste” campaign and used everywhere else in Devon. This is also likely to cause confusion in the public’s mind.

It is unfortunate that Tesco has made a unilateral decision without prior consultation and has adopted a collection system which is significantly different to that provided at other locations the public use. This cannot be good for Devon, even if Tesco’s believe it is good for them.

Councillor David Cox,

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on behalf of the Devon Authorities Waste

Reduction and Recycling Committee.

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