Nine out of ten Guernsey households recycle

December 3rd, 2010 by States of Guernsey Public Services Department

NINE out of ten households are now regularly recycling and nearly half are also helping to reduce waste by composting at home, according to a new independent study.

The survey, commissioned by the States of Guernsey Public Services Department, was conducted by local research company Island Analysis. Using a combination of an online questionnaire and on-street interviews, it asked 500 local households about their recycling habits, views on the facilities currently provided, and any aspects that prevent them from doing more.

The sample also included homes that admit they do not currently recycle, and looked at what might encourage them to do so in future.

Ninety-two percent of households in the survey said they currently recycled, with more than half of them (57%) visiting the bring bank sites at least once a week.

Paper was the most popular material, with more than 97% of recyclers dropping this off at the bring banks. This was followed by cardboard (93%), glass bottles and jars (91%), and plastic packaging (88%). Tins and cans, clothing and shoes, and drinks cartons were also all above 80%.

Among the common household items that can be recycled locally but are most often missed were low energy light bulbs (87%), aerosols (72%), batteries (59%), and polystyrene packaging (52%).

In terms of age groups, over 65s were the most likely to recycle, with nearly 98% of those surveyed saying they were regular visitors to the bring bank sites. This compared to just 82% of 18 to 25-year-olds.

Part of the reason for this could be more younger people occupying smaller homes. Households living in flats (84%) or terraced properties (83%) were less likely to recycle than those in semi-detached (90%) or detached properties (97%).

The main reason given by both recyclers (25%) and non-recyclers (48%) preventing them from recycling more, or at all, was lack of space at home.

Public Services Deputy Minister, Deputy Scott Ogier, said the survey had provided a wealth of information which would help the Department better target future initiatives.

‘For years now Public Services has constantly been promoting a message of reduce, reuse, recycle, and the response from Islanders has been brilliant. We have seen an enormous increase in recycling, and as a result the amount of waste going to landfill has fallen significantly,’ he said.

In the third quarter of 2010, more than 50% of household waste was recycled – a new record.

‘We want to continue that progress, but obviously each successive increase becomes harder to achieve. By better understanding people’s behaviour, what items they are regularly recycling, what items they are not, and what is preventing them from recycling more, we can better target initiatives and keep the increases coming.’

‘For example, 98% of recyclers say they recycle paper, but only 87% drinks and food cans. Clearly we want to get all the different materials up to the top level, so we will be looking at how we can achieve that.’

The survey confirmed that weekends were the most popular days for doing the recycling. Chouet was the busiest bring bank site, with nearly a quarter of all recyclers identifying it as their main destination.

More than 45% of households also indicated that they home composted some or all of their kitchen and garden waste, further reducing the amount of waste going to landfill. Since 2005, more than 4,300 subsidised composting kits have been provided under Public Services’ subsidised scheme.

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