Leaf recycling criticised
PUBLISHED: 14:00 04 January 2016
The practise of driving leaves long distances from East Devon before composting them has been called into question by a district councillor.
Councillor Roger Giles says the process of transporting compostable debris several miles away from where it was collected defeats the whole point of recycling and is calling for a change in policy.
But East Devon District Council (EDDC) has blamed a lack of space to carry out on-site composting and says contaminated waste was causing problems on gardens.
Councillor Giles, an Ottery St Mary representative, said: “Some of the leaves collected in East Devon are sent out to Torrington. It’s appalling - if we are sending leaves long distances for composting, it takes the point out of what we are doing.”
In response to the question from Cllr Giles at a council meeting, an EDDC recycling officer said: “Leaves collected from our East Devon parkland used to be composted in leaf mould heaps in our depots.
“We stopped doing this over a year ago because of limited space at these depots, but also because the leaf mould composted this way was of low quality and full of weeds.
“Leaves from our park land are now collected in skips at our two depots along with other green waste generated from our parks and open spaces.
“This is composted locally near Exeter.
“Road sweeping leaves have always been treated differently, due to their mix with road debris and contaminants, and need to be processed at appropriately licensed facilities.”
Cllr Giles suggested the community enterprise recycling company Otter Rotters could take on the composting duties for the district council.
However, the officer said EDDC needed to consider efficiency and costs. It would also have to go through a procurement process before a change in contractor could be considered.
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