Students have expressed their dissatisfaction with the Council’s rubbish collection policy after “masses of bags” were left to “rot on the street”.
Popular student housing areas, such as Monks Road, have been subject to a large build-up of odorous bin bags in recent weeks, as local refuse crews have refused to collect waste from “overfilled bins”.
One fourth-year student described the situation on Monks Road: “Pavements are strewn with a collection of old bananas, egg shells and suspicious-looking tissues, and piles of bin bags spill their contents at various points on my path up to campus.
“It’s disgusting, and makes you wonder about the rodents that are no doubt delighting in the Council’s decision.”
Many students were subsequently forced to store rubbish inside their own homes for over a week after the official collection date. Others expressed concern that this may lead to fly tipping.
Although part of a well-established policy aimed at preventing injury to refuse crews when top-heavy bins are unloaded, students argue that they were not adequately informed of the regulation, which was described as “rubbish”, prior to receiving police notices on their uncollected waste, as it had not previously been strictly enforced.
Cllr Keith Owen, Lead Councillor for the environment at Exeter City Council told Exeposé: “It is particularly difficult for students, who have moved from areas where recycling collections are different to Exeter, to get used to what goes in the green bins and what goes in the black rubbish bins.
“In Exeter we want to do the best for our city and the environment by reducing the waste we throw away and recycling as much as we can. If people are recycling their household plastics, cans and tins, paper and card, by putting it all in their green bin, most will find that there is plenty of room left in their black bin.”
Those with additional recycling can place it in a tied-up bag labelled ‘RECYCLING’, which can be presented next to their recycling bin on the appropriate collection day.
Exeter City Council are now working closely with the University to improve glass bank access and to ensure that students are aware of waste disposal regulations. New students can find information in the ‘My Exeter Community Guide’ and the University app, but are advised that the Guide contains a misprint stating that polystyrene is recyclable in Exeter, which is not the case.
The Council and University have also collaborated on the ‘Students on the Move’ project in recent years to tackle extra waste created by students leaving the city.
According to Community Liaison Officer Rory Cunningham, the University will “continue to invest in a range of schemes and initiatives to boost recycling, including the termly glass caddy scheme and our annual ‘Students on the Move’ scheme”.