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Guernsey's recycling rate now one of the best in Europe

Guernsey's recycling rate now one of the best in Europe

Friday 05 April 2019

Guernsey's recycling rate now one of the best in Europe

Guernsey's household recycling uptake is among the best in Europe as a result of the introduction of the pay-as-you-throw waste system.

Based on a recycling rate of above 60% for January-March - the first full quarter since exports of separate food waste and processed general waste began - Guernsey Waste is predicting that as much as 65% of waste will be recycled this year.

This compares to a provisional rate of 50.2% for the 12 months to the end of March 2018, which puts the island on course to achieve its target of recycling 70% of household waste by 2030.

States Trading Assets’ Deputy Managing Director Richard Evans said this showed the extent to which households had subscribed to the new collections. 

"The whole of the Guernsey Waste team work really hard, a lot of work has been done with the people of Guernsey to get them on board and it is really encouraging to see that people have embraced it," he said. 

"85% of households are using the service regularly, which is absolutely fantastic, and that has translated into 65% of everything [being recycled]. It has effectively gone up 15% since we switched to the new collections and charging system.

"But that doesn’t mean that we are going to sit back and rest on our laurels, because we are keen to keep the emphasis up and keep things going."

In Europe, only Germany has recorded a national rate of more than 60%. A handful of local authorities in the UK have reported rates of above 60%, the highest being Anglesey at 69.1%.


Mr Evans said the Guernsey Waste team is aware of national interest in Guernsey's pay-as-you-throw system.

"We know that colleagues in local councils in the UK are watching us closely," said Mr Evans. "They are keen to see how it goes and learn from our experience."

The biggest factor in Guernsey’s increase in recycling has been the new food waste collections for every household. Since December, separately collected food waste has been pre-processed at the new transfer station at Longue Hougue, before being loaded into tankers and sent to a plant in southern England, where it is used to generate electricity and compost material. 

The shift to fortnightly pick-ups for general rubbish has also seen a big upturn in kerbside recycling. A survey in November last year, involving more than 1,800 homes in St Peter Port and Castel, found that more than 85% of households were now regular users of the service. Nearly 90% were using the weekly food waste collections. 

Tonnages for the blue and clear recycling bags in the first two months of January and February were up more than 30% compared to 2018, while the amount of general refuse has fallen "significantly" since the adoption of the new arrangements. 

Pictured top: Members of Guernsey Waste, the States Trading Supervisory Board and main contractors Wood and Geomarine at the Longue Hougue household waste facility. 






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