How much waste does Guernsey produce?

September 8th, 2010 by States of Guernsey Public Services Department

Generally Guernsey generates about 250,000 tonnes of waste per year.  This includes waste from households, businesses and the construction industry.  The vast majority is recycled, reused or reclaimed (e.g. in the case of most inert waste it is used for land reclamation at Longue Hougue.

What is left is termed ‘residual waste’ of which around 36,000 tonnes was sent to landfill in 2009.

An estimated 7,500 tonnes were also disposed of at private waste handling facilities using methods (open wood burning) that are no longer permitted under the new environmental legislation.

Increased recycling and diversion in recent years has reduced the amount going to landfill to less than half the level of 2001.  This has been achieved through successful initiatives to divert waste from landfill, including increased tipping charges, improvements in recycling, better separation of waste, and home composting schemes for organic waste.  However over that time the general trend has still been one of increasing waste overall.  In recent years we have seen this level off.

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Any future waste disposal solution may focus on dealing with the residual waste fraction, but the overall strategy still has to take account of all the island’s waste.

Food waste makes up around 1/5 of household waste, but due to recycling of dry recyclables (tins, cans, plastic bottles, paper, cardboard, juice & milk cartons) it accounts for more than 1/3 of what goes into islanders’ black bags.  Paper accounts for 1/5 of the total but currently around 2/3 rds of this ends up being recycled.

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There is currently no means locally of treating organic kitchen waste separate to general household and commercial waste other than home composting with can deal with some elements of this.  Public services has provided thousands of local homes with compost bins under a subsidised scheme.  This has contributed to a significant reduction in organic waste being delivered to landfill.

Composition of residual waste (Click pie chart to expand)

The Waste Hierarchy

The Waste Hierarchy is a commonly accepted principle internationally, and the cornerstone of the island’s waste strategy.  The aim is to extract maximum practical benefit form the products we buy and use.  Waste prevention is top of the list, and disposal the least preferred option.

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What is Guernsey doing?

Reduce

  • Charge for single use carrier bags
  • Subsidised home composting bins
  • Voucher scheme for new parents considering using real nappies

Reuse

  • Guernsey Press free eCycle scheme has found new homes for thousands of unwanted items
  • Longue Hougue Waste Recycling Facility – from old bicycles to plant pots, and from tins of paint to computers and other electrical items
  • Clothing banks and local charity shops

Recycle

  • More than 8000 tonnes collected in 2009 – double that in 2004
  • Commercial facilities for local businesses including Fontaine Vinery and private contractors
  • Thousands of tonnes of green waste shredded and turned into soil conditioner each year

Recycling in Guernsey

Major efforts are being made working with the public, retailers, businesses and the waste industry to encourage islanders to reduce, reuse, and recycle.

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The amount of household waste recycled has doubled from less than 20% in 2004 to more than 40% in 2010.

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More than 6000 tonnes of green waste could be processed into soil conditioner this year.  Householders can drop off garden waste for free at Chouet green waste site for composting and for a small charge at Le Friquet Garden Centre.  Commercial green waste is delivered to Mont Cuet where it is mixed with domestic green waste from Chouet, shredded and composted to produce a soil conditioner.

In 2009 more than 815 tonnes of material were recycled at the Longue Hougue Recycling facility and much more diverted from landfill.

Besides being a facility where islanders can drop off unwanted items, the Longue Hougue Recycling Facility is open for the public to come and take items away.

More than 6,500 scavenging tickets were handed out in the first year, ranging from old bicycles to plant pots, from tins of paint to computers and other electrical items.  All of this might previously have ended in the landfill.

Household items recycled through the facility last year included about 460 tonnes of scrap metal, 35 tonnes of batteries, 260 tonnes of computer and other electrical equipment, and 2 tonnes of electrical cabling.

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