Archive for December, 2008

The Pleasure of Walking

December 28th, 2008 by Richard Lord

Have some of us forgotten about the pleasure of walking? Are we too quick to jump in a car? Guernsey’s size is ideally suited for walking. And it has many picturesque locations and quiet country lanes. If we don’t have to rush along the shortest route to our destination we can discover more about the area we walk through. If we walk home or walk to work our journey can reveal new detail about our environment. And walking can produce a sense of well-being along the way.

Continue reading

Recycling of Expanded Polystyrene (EPS)

December 27th, 2008 by Richard Lord

This clean white polystyrene packaging can be reycled in Guernsey (©RLLord)

The States of Guernsey Public Services Department announced on 27 December 2008 that clean, white Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) will be recyclable in Guernsey from the 19 January 2009.

Members of the public will be able to bring their EPS to two bring bank sites: the Longue Hougue temporary waste facility site and the Mont Cuet bring bank site.

These sites will have new large containers to accept EPS.  Only clean, white EPS used in the packaging of electronic, fragile and white goods will be accepted.  This includes white pellets, sheets, and pre-formed EPS.

The States of Guernsey Public Services Department has purchased a German manufactured Strautmann Cut Compact machine, which can compact EPS to 15% of its original volume. The compacted material will be shipped off-island and sold to manufacturers such as Robust Recycled Products who make such items as park benches and seating, outdoor decking, and outdoor posts and fences.

Outdoor seating made from recycled EPS by Robust Recycled Products

Outdoor bench made from recycled EPS by Robust Recycled Products

Surround of raised beds made from recycled EPS by Robust Recycled Products

The Public Services Department estimates that the Mont Cuet landfill receives up to 10 tonnes of expanded polystyrene per month.  Its low density means that this represents a large volume of material that can now be diverted away from the landfill.

Single-use Styrofoam fish boxes (click image to expand ©RLLord)

Polystyrene does not biodegrade and sunlight does not degrade it (photolysis).  It has become increasingly abundant in the environment in recent years as its use has increased.  It is light and easily wind blown.  Small pieces of it turn up in hedgerows and on our beaches.  It is a major component of marine debris.

At the moment this States of Guernsey Public Service Department Styrofoam recycling initiative is for clean white expanded polystyrene (EPS) only.  Clean Styrofoam trays used in food packaging and take-out Styrofoam containers cannot be recycled at the bring banks.

Deputy Mike Collins questions the Public Service Department on solid waste treatment options

December 22nd, 2008 by Mike Collins

Deputy Mike Collins is concerned by the accuracy of the Mont Cuet landfill figures. He would like the Scrutiny committee to re-evaluate the residual waste entering the Mont Cuet landfill. He is concerned that kerbside recycling has been stopped principally for staffing reasons. He believes that commercial food residue and kerbside food waste could be stabilised and reduced in vessel composters before being placed into the Mont Cuet Landfill. He is also concerned by the discontinuation of the Waste Disposal People’s Panel. He believes that the micro-incinerator proposed by the Waste Disposal People’s Panel (WDPP) is an excellent idea.

In the recent States debate on waste solutions the present tendering exercise relied on a minimum figure of 45,000 metric tons increasing over 25 years to 70,000 metric tons “agreed” by the previous States.

I am concerned at the accuracy of the Mont Cuet landfill figures having witnessed mixed skip loads entering the tip during the recent States members visit. Given that a significant sum of money is likely to be spent on the eventual solid waste treatment solution I believe that the Scrutiny Committee should re-evaluate the residual waste entering the tip over say a three month period to verify the actual annual waste (suitable for an incinerator) being deposited. I have plotted out the waste fill rates which you quote under the heading “Future Waste Predictions” and these rates appear to be dropping rather than increasing (see graph).

(click graph to expand)

Extrapolation to the year 2020 shows that a figure of 30,000 metric tons per year might be reached, rather than the 70,000 metric ton figure.

I am concerned that the kerbside recycling is apparently being stopped principally for staffing reasons as unemployed workers from the Social Security Community & Environmental Projects Scheme (CEPS) will no longer be available from the end of December. With an increasing number of people out of work it should be possible I believe for local waste companies and a team of dedicated “out-of-workers” to take over the kerbside recycling if given the opportunity and appropriate funding.

I understand that food recycling of several thousand tons per year is not being pursued because of contamination “concerns” to the local environment. We need to understand the details of these concerns because many local people are composting food residues privately as part of their recycling efforts. Clearly commercial food residues and kerbside food waste could be stabilized and reduced using in vessel composters before placing into the Mont Cuet landfill.

I am concerned that the Waste Disposal People’s Panel (WDPP) who had many very good ideas was recently discontinued. This is inconsistent with the Public Services Department now asking to hear from the public again to answer their questions. The ability of the “micro incinerator” the WDPP proposed seemed to be an excellent idea at a fraction of the cost of a large special purpose 45,000 to 70,000 metric ton incinerator and could be installed relatively quickly.

The end of Kerbside Recycling

December 2nd, 2008 by Graham Guille

I share Deputy David de Lisle’s disappointment at the recent announcement from P.S.D. that they are ending Kerbside recycling, mainly on cost grounds. I also agree with him that this is yet another instance whereby that department is leaving this island with little alternative to incineration as a disposal route for the island’s rubbish.

The economic argument against more recycling is essentially flawed. We are being asked to accept that we can only justify recycling if it can be done at little or no cost.

Yet at the same time, we are being told that it is acceptable to ask this community to spend upwards of £250+Million (the twenty five years cost of an incinerator) to pay for the consequences of not having recycled much of our rubbish.

Continue reading