Agenda item

Questions from Members of the Council under Standing Order No. 20

To receive questions from Members of the Council to the relevant Portfolio Holders for this Scrutiny Committee. The Portfolio Holders are:-


Councillor Denning -   Portfolio Holder for Customer Services and Council Housing

Councillor Ghusain -   Portfolio Holder for City Management and Environmental Services

Councillor Pearce   -   Portfolio Holder for Communities and Homelessness Prevention

Councillor Williams -   Portfolio Holder for Recycling, Waste Management and Waterways


Advance questions from Members relating to the Portfolio Holders should be notified to the Corporate Manager Democratic and Civic Support via the email.




In accordance with Standing Order No. 20, the following questions had been submitted by Councillors Rees and D. Moore and had been circulated in advance to Members of the Committee. The responses of the Portfolio Holders are set out in italics.  


Questions to the Portfolio Holder for Recycling, Waste Management and Waterways - Councillor Williams


Councillor Rees


What is the basis for the calculation of the ‘household waste collection’? (Table 6 BVP184a kg per head Devon Authorities Strategic Waste Committee (DASWC), Waste Performance Statistics 2021/22)?




BVPI 84a: Total Household waste arisings (HWA) per year in kg, divided by the population. Put simply, total HWA includes green, grey, brown bins, food waste, street cleansing, Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) reject, Bring banks, and Reuse. 


The low figure for Exeter is often held up as an achievement, that is, that Exeter residents produce less waste. Can the Council confirm that the low figure for Exeter is primarily as a result of the low levels of garden waste (as highlighted in the waste statistics report)? 




Exeter is in the top 10 Waste Collection Authority (WCA) nationally for BVPI 84a with 292.8 kg per person per year, and the best of the eight Devon Districts which exceed Exeter’s value by between 11% and 35%. Whilst Exeter does indeed produce less garden waste compared with the other districts, even excluding garden waste from the arisings total, Exeter residents still produce the less waste per head by comparison with the other seven Devon Districts. It is worth noting that high levels of garden waste contribute to higher recycling rates.


Please can Councillors be provided with Household Grey Waste data (not recyclables or garden waste) for the different districts, so that a meaningful comparison can be made?




The data requested for the Devon Districts is listed as NI 191 in the Devon County Council Kerbside Residual Waste Composition Analysis Report, October 2022 which Councillor Rees referred to in her previous questions. There is a detailed Waste analysis breakdown for each District, produced in October 2019, available in the Appendix to the report, which is available online from Devon County Council.  



Questions to the Portfolio Holder for Recycling, Waste Management and Waterways – Councillor Williams


Councillor D. Moore


Regarding cardboard recycling:


A. How much cardboard is recycled, for the current year and each of the previous three years?




2019-2020: 448 tonnes

2020-2021: 1,138 tonnes

2021-2022: 1,174 tonnes

2022-2023: 574 tonnes Q1 & Q2 only (Q3 figures due shortly)


B. Where does the City Council send cardboard to for the next stage of recycling processing?




Both the UK and abroad depending on market conditions


C. Are all the processing plants for cardboard used by the City Council in the UK, if not why not?




Mainly abroad at present as the UK market is flat in regards to acceptance and price and we always try and get the best price in the marketplace to help support our frontline services. The UK does not have the infrastructure to recycle all the waste cardboard produced and overseas markets must be used.  We do not use spot market for overseas sales and because we produce such a high quality product, we are able to use Lee and Mann Paper which is one of the top four mills in the world for continuity and reliability. We always achieve around £20-£30 per tonne more using this method rather than the UK route.


D. Are the scope three emissions for cardboard processing collected and considered as part of City Council carbon emissions?




All scope three emissions are currently estimated using best practice information until a full service review can drill into the detail. The Net Zero Team have completed the carbon baseline assessment and the carbon action plan. The carbon action plan focusses on areas for further detailed study, including practical ways to reduce carbon emissions. Housing is the first service to undertake that detailed review and waste management will follow later. Scope three emissions will be accounted for in more detail as part of that process.


Supplementary question and answer.


Where abroad are the processing plants?




The Lee and Mann Mill is in Malaysia. We send our card board from Exeter to the Malaysian Mill to be turned into new cardboard packaging. There is a full chain of custody and we know exactly how it is being used. We can access this specialist mill as we produce a far superior grade of product than other districts. We have used Lee and Mann for many years where possible.


Containers are coming to the UK all the time, full of goods. 70% of containers on a vessel are returning empty, we fill one with our cardboard and make use of the return journey.