MORE than £17,000 has been spent producing and posting waste and recycling calendars for 2013/2014.
Figures obtained by the Journal show the cost of designing the calendars was just £125, whereas £11,423.60 was spent posting them out to North Devon residents.
The calendars show when weekly collections of bin bags and recycling will take place, and when there won’t be collections due to bank holidays.
But Des Brailey, leader of the Conservative opposition group at North Devon Council, says the money is comparable to a year’s wages for some people.
“While it is a useful tool for the community, I am sure that residents would not be too dissatisfied if that money was put to better use,” he said.
“We could come up with another way of informing people about bank holiday collections, such as using free local radio or perhaps looking at the cost of placing a sticker on the bin about collection times over the bank holiday periods.”
The cost of paper and printing the calendars was £3,120, cover letters cost £1,771.56, envelopes came to £798.30 and £742.46 was spent on rental of an automailer for stuffing.
The total cost was £17,962.92.
Rodney Cann, lead member for environment at the district council, said it was the most cost effective way of getting the calendars out to the public.
“It is something we have looked at time and time again and I went back to executive three times,” he said. “It is a quick win to save money but I feel, and I know our customer surveys show, it is a valued item.
“The problem is we have tried to cut costs and examined all manner of means and this is the most cost effective way.
“It is an expensive operation. For many people, particularly the elderly, who cannot get online or get out, it is not practical to use other options such as putting it in local shops. In Fremington for example there are three collections.”
Mr Cann said it begged the question as to why the Conservatives did not scrap the calendars when they were in power, but Mr Brailey said one year was “not long enough to make the necessary changes”.