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.

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