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Residents urged to play their part in reducing waste in Exeter

Published: 20 March 2024

Residents urged to play their part in reducing waste in Exeter Reduce, reuse and recycle

Residents have been urged to help reduce the amount of waste collected in the city – by reducing, reusing and recycling.

On average residents in Exeter create less waste than almost any other location in the country.

But Cllr Ruth Williams, Lead Councillor for Waste and Recycling, said more can still be done to reduce the amount of waste that ends up being incinerated at the Waste to Energy Plant in Exeter.

Cllr Williams said: “Most people think that the most important part of waste disposal is to make sure we recycle. But the most important thing is to reduce the amount of waste we produce, and recycling is still waste.

“Exeter is already the best location in Devon for reducing the amount of waste we produce, but we really need to reduce the amount further.

“The more that we can reduce, the less waste will end up being incinerated at the Energy to Waste Plant in Exeter or processed at our recycling plant.”

Cllr Williams said the recycling hierarchy is to reduce, reuse and recycle.

Reduce - buying less where it is possible to do so. A lot of food waste that ends up in black bins has never been opened. Several shops in Exeter offer shoppers the chance to refill plastic containers which reduces waste. Reusable nappies lead to a big reduction in the amount of waste thrown away.

Reuse - buying pre-owned items like furniture and clothes from charity shops and outlets and donating items that you no longer use. Getting items repaired is also much better than throwing them away and buying new ones.

Recycle - items like plastic containers are sorted at Exeter’s Materials Reclamation Facility (MRF). Planned investment will modernise the MRF, increase capacity and allow food waste collection to be rolled out across the city, which will lead to a big increase in the city’s recycling rates. Glass should be taken to bottle banks throughout the city.

Cllr Williams said: “There are lots of ways we can all reduce the amount of waste that is collected. We just need to think more about the things we buy. We are already in the top 10 of locations nationally for producing the least amount of waste, which is great, but we would like to get into the top three.

“So I would urge everyone to play their part and reduce, reuse and recycle.”

For more information about recycling and waste management in Exeter visit the Council’s website.

For more information about outlets that help reduce waste in Exeter, including The Baby Room, Exeter Library of Things, Turntable and Exeter Scrapstore, visit

For an A-Z list of what can be recycled in Exeter, see the guide on the Council’s website.

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