Introduce kerbside Recycling with a Pay-As-You Throw Scheme

June 16th, 2010 by Yvonne Burford

I support a pay-as-you-throw refuse scheme. For pretty much everything else, we pay in proportion to use. For those who cite the ‘nanny state’ and resent being told what to do, this scheme would actually allow people to control what they do and benefit financially if they wished to make the effort to reduce, reuse, recycle and repair.

The idea of paying rewards for recycling is flawed but is born of the increasingly prevalent idea that people are not prepared to do the right thing unless there is something financially in it for them. I believe on the whole people are better and more altruistic than that, especially in a small community like ours. Sticks and carrots are both methods of coercion that attempt to force change in behaviour and people ultimately don’t like being coerced.

However, altruistic behaviour should be facilitated and to that end the States should have already implemented a kerbside recycling scheme. Including businesses and the collection of food waste kerbside recycling has the potential to prevent around 30% of what goes into the Mont Cuet landfill presently as well as alleviating the problems of rats, gulls and methane.

In the battle to stop the incinerator we were told innumerable times that landfill must be stopped as we were running out of space and that it was attracting vermin, but one simple action that could significantly alleviate theses problems is being ignored.

The cost of kerbside collection has been cited at various levels but £600,000 a year would seem to be a generous estimate.  The Suez Environnement / SITA Guernsey facility would have swallowed that amount of money in less than a month. Additionally kerbside recycling would remove the eyesore and the costs of the bring banks.

The UK Government Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has shown that recycling is beneficial. Recycling a tonne of paper saves enough energy over virgin production to power an average house for a year – even taking into account shipping to the UK. We have overturned the mass burn incinerator. Now the States of Guernsey needs to make it easy for people to do the right thing.

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