Recycling Guernsey household waste saves parishioners’ money and is good for Mont Cuet

February 12th, 2012 by Richard Lord

The States of Guernsey Public Service Department is bringing to the States of Deliberation a solid waste strategy for debate in late February 2012, which calls for a recycling target of 70% by 2025.

Guernsey household waste accounts for about one third of the residual waste going to the Mont Cuet landfill. The other two-thirds is commercial and industrial waste.

In 2004 when the Lurgi incinerator was being considered by the Guernsey States of Deliberation, about 72,000 tonnes of residual waste was delivered to the Mont Cuet landfill annually.

After the Lurgi incinerator was rejected by the States of Deliberation, the Mont Cuet tipping fee was increased substantially, and this led to a decline in the amount of residual waste delivered to Mont Cuet.

Mont Cuet landfill with windrows of green waste being composted in the foreground on 28 January 2012 (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

Last year Mont Cuet received just over 33,000 tonnes of waste.

The decrease in residual waste has been accomplished by an increase in recycling, which has been achieved by businesses such as Island Waste diverting commercial and industrial waste away from the landfill, and by households increasing their recycling.

For households, the Public Services Department provides the opportunity to recycle many materials at bring banks located around the island.

The Public Services Department pays a net cost of about £70 per tonne to recycle the material that is taken by households to the bring banks.

This cost includes the collection, processing, and shipment of recyclates. This cost is off-set by income derived from the sale of this material.

The Public Services Department sets the tipping fee for solid waste delivered to the Mont Cuet landfill. For uncontaminated loads the tipping fee has increased to about £144 per tonne, which is probably the highest charge anywhere in the British Isles.

For contaminated loads, which include recyclable material, the tipping fee is about £200 per tonne, but PSD provides the lower uncontaminated charge to the parishes even though household waste is contaminated with recyclable material.

The tipping fee charged by PSD pays for the operation of the landfill, the green waste facility at Chouet, the States Works Fontaine Vinery facility, and the cost of recycling bring bank material.

Any household waste placed out on a street for collection by the parish contractor costs the parish £144 per tonne to dispose of at Mont Cuet.

Any household waste that can be recycled at the bring banks doesn’t cost the parish although it costs PSD on average about £70 per tonne.

The bulk of the parochial rate charged to each household annually is the refuse rate, and in many parishes the bulk of the refuse rate pays for the tipping of residual waste at Mont Cuet.

The Mont Cuet tipping fee is determined by the weight of the waste so the more weight of waste that can be recycled the lower the charge to the parishes and the lower the cost of the household refuse rate.

Recycling household waste is good for parishes and parishioners and is good for Mont Cuet, which is filling up rapidly. Diverting as much waste as possible from Mont Cuet lengthens its remaining life.

The Mont Cuet landfill (photographed on 28 January 2012) will eventually reach the height of the surrounding hills (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

The Waste Hierarchy

The Waste Hierarchy places waste prevention as the highest priority, followed by Reuse and then Recycling.

Opportunities for waste prevention are increasing. Newspapers and magazines can account for a large percentage of household waste.

Many magazines and newspapers such as The Guernsey Press are available on-line. An on-line subscription doesn’t produce inky fingers and the newspaper can be viewed as soon as it is published.

My household has an on-line subscription for The Guernsey Press but we also receive a copy from our neighbour after they have finished reading it, which we recycle or use in a tyre composter.

Films, music, and books can be downloaded from the Internet without any need for packaging or the physical item itself.

My household of four people has begun to study how much waste it generates and how much can be recycled each week.

Please see the report on our progress each week.


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