A sustainable and cost-effective solution to Guernsey’s waste problem

September 22nd, 2010 by Professor Connett

Professor Paul Connett in Guernsey (click image to expand)

Professor Paul Connett gave a presentation on “A sustainable and cost-effective solution to Guernsey’s waste problem” to a packed Harry Bound room at Les Cotils conference centre on 20 September 2010.

He recommended a low tech community plan to solve our solid waste problem.  This would include:

  • a kitchen waste collection system;
  • recycling;
  • yard waste composting;
  • a Reuse, Repair and Community centre;
  • a Pay-by-Bag for residual waste system (Pay-as-you-throw – PAYT)
  • a Residual Separation, Stabilisation and Program Monitoring Facility located at the entrance to the landfill to analyse the waste stream to develop ways of further reducing the residual waste stream.

Professor Connett recommended a clean anaerobic digestion system for household and commercial food waste, and a dirty anaerobic digestion system for such items as nappies and cat litter.

The American Health Studies Project website contains videos of Reuse and Repair centres in California, Vermont, Nova Scotia, and Australia.

He recommended the establishment of a Guernsey Resource Recovery Park, which would include:

  • the Reuse, Repair and Community Centre
  • Building Deconstruction businesses
  • Material Recovery Facility (MRF)  for domestic waste and commercial and non-hazardous industrial waste
  • Construction and demolition recycling businesses
  • Businesses using recovered secondary materials to make new products

He recommended that the Residual Separation, Stabilisation and Program Monitoring Facility should be built at the entrance to the landfill.  No material should enter the landfill without being separated and screened.  This would allow more materials to be recovered for recycling, and toxic materials could be identified and removed. The dirty organics fraction of the waste stream could be stabilised in an anaerobic digester before being added to the landfill.

The Monitoring and Research Centre would improve capture rates of reusable and recyclable material.  It would determine improved waste avoidance strategies for individuals and businesses, and it would research ways to find local uses for some materials.

As part of a global effort, the centre would recommend better designs to industry on packaging and products.    In the 21st century, industry has a responsibility to design products for sustainability.  If manufactured products are not reusable or recyclable or compostable, industry shouldn’t be making them.  The producer should be responsible for the life cycle of the products they manufacture.  Legislation is already making this a reality in the EU, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and in 2011 in China.

Professor Connett’s PowerPoint presentation can be downloaded.  The file is about 10 mb.

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