It’s Only Rubbish? A Look at Recycling in Teignbridge.

Recycling wasn’t unknown to the Kinnersley household. We had had recycling bins for our property in East Sussex. There was just a general assumption that there would be the same or similar method in Devon. How wrong we were. And how quickly we were to find that out.

Some black bags of rubbish had been left by the previous occupant, and having missed a refuse collection, we decided that we would travel down the the nearest recycling centre, which happened to be in Newton Abbot and dispose of them. My husband exited the car after a very stressful time trying to locate the site, only to be told, “We don’t take that, mate. That’s rubbish, not recycling”.

He was fuming when he came back to drive us home. As he told me later when he had calmed down, it wasn’t the fact that they wouldn’t accept the rubbish that was the problem – it was the attitude of the group of council workers that he had tried to talk to.

Muttering all the way home, I was afraid that he would say it was a mistake to have moved down to Devon. But no, he made his way to the garage, saying that he would attempt to reduce the amount of rubbish by putting some of it in the recycling bins provided. Cue for lots of banging and crashing about.  A little while later, he came back into the house, a lot calmer. It turned out that much of the stuff in the black sacks had been recyclable, so he had been able to substantially reduce the amount that needed to go into the general waste wheelie bin.

In this area, each property has five bins. The black wheelie bin is for general waste; then there are containers for food waste; for cardboard and glass; and for plastic and metal respectively. There is also an paid option for garden waste service which alternates collection with the general waste, being collected on alternate weeks. And we have a bag for the newspaper and paper waste. The food waste, newspapers and other recycling waste are collected every week.

It does take a little getting used to and it sounds complicated, but we have turned into recycling addicts. Unbelievably, my husband now takes a positive enjoyment in every day recycling the waste that we have produced. I say that because the different system we had in Sussex wasn’t quite so strict, so the lazy way out was taken. It nearly all went as general waste.

Here it is very clear. As I have said, general waste is only collected every two weeks in one wheelie bin, so it makes sense to recycle whatever you can. I’m not saying we’re perfect but for us it works.

The only thing I struggled with was after Christmas as frosted and foiled Christmas cards are not accepted together with different types of wrapping paper. Having said that, it does make you think about the stuff we threw away in the past without a thought. Recycling rocks!


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