We could see a rise in waste charges in the future to compensate for Guernsey Waste's losses, now that more than 70% of the island's household rubbish is being recycled.
The new waste strategy, which fully came into force at the beginning of 2019, has brought about a huge shift in the way local households dispose of their rubbish.
Many more people than expected have made the effort to switch recycling and composting, but that means they aren't paying as much as was budgeted on black bin stickers, resulting in a £3m deficit for Guernsey Waste in its first year alone.
"The waste strategy has been successful because people are being more efficient," said President of the States Trading & Supervisory Board, Deputy Peter Ferbrache. "The good thing is, people are being socially responsible. The bad thing is that brings less money through the tills."
Pictured: Any black bin sacks without 'pay as you throw' stickers are not collected.
The current mechanism, which includes an £85 standing charge per household and a further charge for each 'pay as you throw' sticker, has been frozen for 2020 and therefore won't be changing yet. But, Deputy Ferbrache said STSB is working to address the losses and everything - including a rise in charges - is being considered.
"We don't want to rush to the starting post just yet," he explained. "It will be a process that will take some time to bed down, but you can't sustain these losses forever, it's just not practical."
Deputy Ferbrache said the losses are, in many ways, a "good news story" because they reflect the societal shift towards more environmentally-friendly methods of waste disposal. However, he isn't expecting the States to simply accept the deficit in return for the positive aspects, particularly in light of the pandemic.
"We've all been affected by covid," he added. "The States revenues aren't what they were and we're going to have big financial issues to address. The States will need to have a wholesale look at all the financial responsibilities and this will be one of those."
Pictured: Guernsey residents have been encouraged to recycle and compost their waste.
Deputy Ferbrache is aware though that an increase in charges could discourage households from abiding by the waste strategy and making efficient choices - undoing some of the good work the new system has done so far.
"It is a good news story and the last thing I'd do is put charges up by say 50%, as people might then say 'oh well, I'm going to flytip'. That would defeat the object."
Guernsey Waste's 2019 accounts were published last week, along with the rest of the States of Guernsey accounts.
Pictured top: Deputy Peter Ferbrache.
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