Guernsey requires a Community Repair and Reuse Centre to minimise waste

December 16th, 2010 by Richard Lord

The States of Guernsey’s Public Services Department is conducting a public consultation over many months to arrive at a solid waste strategy that will work well for Guernsey.  This strategy is based on the Waste Hierarchy, which places most emphasis on waste prevention and tries to minimise disposal.

The inverted pyramid of the Waste Hierarchy is based on the three R’s – Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.  As people analyse waste they refine the waste hierarchy and add more steps.

(click image to expand)

Some jurisdictions include a fourth ‘R’ of Recovery and others add ‘Rethink’, which encompasses the whole strategy and involves buying material with recycled content and minimising one’s waste impact on society and the environment.

A large quantity of valuable material is thrown out during spring cleans, home moves and home renovations.  If this material is not separated at source the likelihood is that it will be damaged and much less useful for reuse.  This material can be salvaged and stored at a Community Repair and Reuse facility where it can be restored to new if necessary to make it suitable for reuse.

The images below were photographed in one hour of cycling near St Peter Port.  They show in a short space of time and a small area of Guernsey the amount of material that could be salvaged and diverted from the waste stream.

Could this chest of drawers be painted and be given a new life? Is the car seat still fit to use? Is the blind serviceable? (click on image to expand - ©RLLord)

A serviceable sink that could be salvaged intact from the waste stream and resold at a Community Repair and Reuse facility. Is any of the carpet and underlay suitable for reuse? (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

Is this bucket and colander suitable for reuse? (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

Could this corner bath find a new home? (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

A door that needs a light retouch could be the perfect solution to someone requiring more light in an interior room (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

Material Recovery Facilities (MRF) extract value from a waste stream but too often items are damaged on delivery to the MRF or during material separation.  Instead of reusing the material, the material is broken down into its component parts and down-cycled.

The Waste Hierarchy places ‘Reuse’ as a higher priority than ‘Recycle’.  Reusing the glass and wood door would be better use than breaking the door into its component parts and melting down the glass, and burning the wood for energy recovery.

Guernsey doesn’t yet have a Community Repair and Reuse facility but it is an integral part of any Waste Minimisation strategy that follows the Waste Hierarchy.

Sustainable Guernsey would like to hear from Guernsey residents that have recovered valuable items and materials from Guernsey’s waste stream.  Please email images and information about the items and materials recovered (and restored) to Sustainableguernsey   The most reusable, valuable and interesting items will be posted on the Sustainableguernsey blog.

5 Responses to “Guernsey requires a Community Repair and Reuse Centre to minimise waste”

  1. Lindsay

    It would be great to see a Community Repair and Reuse Centre in Guernsey! One of my favourite chairs at home was taken (with permission) from a skip, and we found an expensive pushchair in perfect working order at the Longue Hougue scavenger’s yard, along with several really good bikes over the years. Ecycle and Radio Guernsey’s Ring and Buy are two other good avenues for reusing things rather than buying them new. I think a CRRC would be really popular here.

  2. Jo

    A Community Repair and Re-use centre would be a huge benefit to the island. Not only would it be a great resource to all but it would be a fantastic example to others. Whatever PSD come up with as a waste strategy the argument that this cannot be considered until then is complete hogwash because the stuff going into such a centre is not actually waste – the centre stops it becoming waste.

  3. rosie dorey

    Ecycle and the BBC’s Ring & Buy are good, but I have to say that I am hesitant to use them because you have to trail all over the island to view the items on offer. You want a sofa? Well there might be several on offer but it would take you the best part of the day to go and check them all out. If we had a Re-use, Repair, Reclamation Centre though, they would all be under one roof and it would be easy to choose the one that suited your requirements. I would be down there frequently.

  4. Rachelle

    A reuse centre could create jobs for disadvantaged people or be used to bring money into your local economy – the centre could charge a nominal fee for items and divide that between running the centre and charitable donations (perhaps an environmental cause such as planting trees for instance). I feel the emphasis on rebuilding community spirit is very important because this is what is missing from our current society and a reuse centre could become a hub for that.

  5. Tani

    I agree with everything that has been said above. My home is full of things that were donated to charity shops and jumble sales. Each item of furniture is much loved and polished, and I have always been grateful that the original owners didn’t just send them to the tip. I have also found crockery, vases, books and all kinds of smaller items on skips near my home. A few carpentry hand tools and inexpensive items like wood glue, stain and varnish are all that is needed to bring most wooden things back into shape.

    But, as Rosie said, transport is a big problem. As I have health problems, and also never wanted a car, I can’t easily get out to view items offered via ads or see what skips and tips around the island have to offer.

    Rachelle is so right about rebuilding community spirit. I have a many friends, but I lead a quiet life, so I find the greatest sense of community in everyday things. Jumble sales and charity shops are great; everyone is talking and sharing tips and experiences while looking for bargains, and it’s heart-warming just to have chats with complete strangers. I’m not short of company, but even I love these precious little spaces of spontaneous friendliness, so I can only imagine what it can mean to the lonely.

    The Salvation Army charity shop on the Bridge is a perfect example of a bit of old Guernsey. The people there are lovely and I get a warm feeling every time I go there (even without a cup of tea and cake). It would be wonderful if the Centre could be as close to the Bridge as possible so that people who can’t walk too far could get there easily. And perhaps it could be arranged for people who are disabled or otherwise housebound to be picked up and taken to the centre so that they could choose what they’d like for their homes, and these items could later be delivered. Although almost everyone has friends who can help with lifts, I know from experience that it can be very difficult to ask for favours from busy people when you’re in need. If a system of lifts was already of offer for this purpose only, it would be much easier to take advantage of it without feeling as if you’re imposing.

    The CRRC would fit in so well with the old spirit of the Bridge area. There are so many wealthy people on this island who would like their unwanted things to go to a good home, so many environmentally aware people who would rather not buy new when they could recycle, and so many poor, like myself, who really need the help but are often too proud to ask, and I see the CRRC as building other kinds of bridges between these groups, with great benefit to all.

    I do hope it becomes a reality as there is so much to feel sad about these days, and I think it would really lift our spirits to be part of it, and provide a focus for so many people to be able to help each other.

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