Parish rates could be reduced with more household recycling

September 22nd, 2011 by Richard Lord

While traveling through St Peter Port on a household rubbish collection day, it is possible to identify households that are not recycling.  Torn-open and thin-film black bin bags and lid-less bins reveal large numbers of bottles and cans that can be recycled.

The parish of St Peter Port, like all Guernsey parishes, has to pay for the collection of household rubbish, and also for the disposal of household rubbish at the Mont Cuet landfill.

The annual sum paid by the parish of St Peter Port on the tipping fee at Mont Cuet is about three times the cost of household waste collection. The total sum is paid for by parishioners in their parish rates.

St Peter Port parishioners could reduce parish costs considerably if all the recyclable material in household waste was sent to bring banks instead of to Mont Cuet landfill.

Unfortunately, for all the effort of Guernsey’s Public Services Department, the Guernsey Recycling Advisory Forum, and voluntary groups, there are still many people who have not taken on-board the recycling message.

There are perhaps three groups of people who do not recycle household waste. There are people who have heard the recycling message but cannot be bothered.  There are people who, because of their recent arrival in Guernsey or because of their language, do not know to recycle, and there are people who are unable to recycle at the bring banks because they have reduced mobility.

Many households put rubbish out for collection in thin-film black bin bags, even though there is a Guernsey law against this.  These bags frequently tear because of sharp edges of material in the bags or because of the weight of the contents.  Food waste in the bin bags attract gulls, which peck open bags put out for collection too early.

A torn black bin bag with recyclable plastic bottles on Pedvin Street at 9.52 am on 27 July 2011 (click image to enlarge - ©RLLord)

Bags of recycable material at the corner of Pedvin street and Hauteville at 3 pm on 7 September 2011 (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

These plastic bottles and aluminium cans could have been removed from the household waste stream for recycling.

At 4.30 pm on Sunday 11 September these three black bin bags were lying on the corner of Pedvin Street and Hauteville (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

Some black bin bags on the street waiting for collection are so badly torn that it is difficult to transfer them and their contents to the collection lorry.

110 aluminium cans came out of the open black bin bags on Pedvin Street (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

Three torn bin bags lying at the corner of Pedvin Street and lower Hauteville exposed Aluminium cans and plastic bottles, which were falling out of the bags.  These were removed for recycling.  The torn bin bags exposed also cardboard, paper, milk cartons, and food contaminated tin cans. These materials can be recycled at the bring banks when they are clean.  By removing the cans and bottles that were falling out of the bin bags it was possible to tie the loose ends of the plastic bags together to give the bags integrity so that when the time came they could be transferred easily to the collection lorry.

The recyclable material that could be washed was placed in a new black bin bag (on the left) for cleaning and transport to the bring banks (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

Some people have the habit of placing cigarette ends in their half-consumed canned and bottled drinks.  These cans and bottles have to be washed out before being taken to the bring banks.  The weight of liquid left in bottles and cans that are not recycled has to be paid for in the tipping fee at Mont Cuet.

The somewhat clean recycable material collected from the torn Pedvin black bin bags on 11 September 2011 waiting for a wash (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

Some St Peter Port street residents put out regularly a large quantity of recyclable material for collection and disposal at Mont Cuet. Glass bottles are heavy and therefore cost more to tip at the Mont Cuet landfill.

Household waste on Allez Street, St Peter Port at 2.15 pm on 12 September 2011 (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

Aluminium cans are valuable. Novelis UK Ltd, Europe’s largest Aluminium can recycler, is currently paying £1000 per tonne for crushed, baled cans.  Consumer Aluminium cans come in three principle sizes. The 33 centilitre capacity can weighs 15 grams, the 44 centiltre can weighs 16 grams, and the 55 centilitre can weighs 17 grams.  On average 62,500 of these cans weigh one tonne so each Aluminium can currently sells for 1.6 pence.

A bag containing recyclable material on Pedvin Street at 10.30 am on 14 September 2011 (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

Recyclable material from a black bin on Pedvin Street at 10.45 am on 14 September 2011 (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

Bottles seen in an open black bin on Pedvin Street at 4.20 pm on 20 September 2011 (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

17 recyclable bottles retrieved from a black in on Pedvin Street on 20 September 2011 (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

The Guernsey Recycling Advisory Forum has been looking for ways to get the recycling message out to ‘hard to reach groups’ who do not currently recycle. Households that do not recycle are not hard to find. Perhaps some form of direct communication is required to find ways to get the recyclable material from these households to Guernsey’s numerous bring banks.

While our community waits for the establishment of an effective solid waste strategy that maximises recycling and minimises residual waste, it behooves those who recycle to try and reach out to non-recyclers in their neighbourhood to see if they can help them recycle more of their household waste.

Maximising recycling will help reduce parish costs considerably and extend the life of Guernsey’s one remaining landfill.


3 Responses to “Parish rates could be reduced with more household recycling”

  1. John SCHUTE

    Richd Lord – V good photo report of black bags(why no pic of cigarette butt inside Coke can?) Now that Market Sq by Guille Alles is such a ‘sort of wasted area’, could it become an Info Site.The Greffe, Frossard House, Constables Office, etc are so far flung there is no central Info point. Downside would be a mass of Info boards. E.g. to BUY a Billet u have to go to 1st floor Royal Court (copies to read are in the Library going back to 1790). Nice booklet “Guernsey Facts and Figures” 2011, free from Frossard House. Thanks for ALL yor many efforts for Guernsey! John

  2. Catherine Plevin

    Could you tell me exactly what the law is on black bin sacks please? I wasn’t aware there was one. Cheers

  3. Richard Lord

    The States of Guernsey Public Services Department confirms that there is an ordinance that states that refuse can only be put out in a paper sack or a bin (and therefore not a plastic bag). PSD says the Ordinance is ‘The Refuse Disposal (amendment) Ordinance 1963’ The Ordinance is listed here: There may be some additional information under the Parishes and parochial taxation section of the Laws pages under Guernsey Legal Resources—bailiwick/p/parishes-and-parochial-taxation/

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