The tourist-focussed Channel Island of Guernsey aims to record one of the highest household recycling rates in Europe this year. This makes good sense when the local economy relies heavily on visitors for its main income. Current forecasts predict Guernsey waste recycling rates could top 65%, compared to the UK, which recorded 55% in 2017.
Justifying the effort to get citizens on board, Guernsey’s recycling manager Peter Ferbrache says the figures show the importance of recycling has been “dripping into the public’s consciousness. The proof of the pudding has been in the eating – it’s been successful so far.”
Endorsing the ‘Triple R’ Factor
Reduce, reuse and recycle form the cornerstones in recycling matters right across the planet. This strategy is a proven concept in encouraging Channel Island dwellers to reduce waste. Guernsey’s Waste Strategy programme promotes waste reduction, while making it possible to reuse and recycle.
One person’s discards are not automatically rubbish items. Often, unwanted household items still in good condition can receive a new lease of life elsewhere. This helps reduce discards arriving as waste at the island’s disposal sites.
Steady as She Goes
It makes sense that recycling is the next best option. This ensures islanders take maximum advantage of materials that they cannot recycle from ending up as trash in the first place. It has many benefits, including saving energy.
One example is making an aluminium can from recycled material. This uses 95% less energy than to manufacturer it from raw material. The energy saved from recycling a single glass wine bottle could power an LED TV for up to 2 hours.
Recycling also reduces demand for scarce natural resources. Imagine the energy needed to mine or extract raw materials where they occur, and transport them around the world for processing. This includes the high costs of railing and shipping bulk material wherever needed around the world. China, a net consumer of note is a case in point.
Landfill versus Export
According to the BBC, Guernsey’s non-recyclable waste will ship to Sweden effective from October 2018. Germinor UK will transfer the island’s waste to a high-efficiency heat and energy recovery facility after the official signing of a contract.
Between 20,000 and 25,000 tonnes of processed waste will be sent to Sweden every year from October during the initial three-year deal, according to Guernsey States’ Trading Assets board. Guernsey States said Sweden won through after a competitive tender process.
Aiming at Landfill Reduction
The Guernsey government said it considered around 20 bids from across Europe for the work. This included one from neighbouring Jersey. Interestingly, the winning proposal was the cheapest and scored higher on the environmental assessment, despite considering the longer travel distance.
This will result in a significant reduction in the volume of waste landfill, which is Guernsey’s current method of disposal. Non-recyclable waste will go to landfill sites as before.
Extending to Neighbouring Islands
Alderney Island is a British Crown dependency and a constituent part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey. Governed by its own assembly, the States of Alderney comprise ten members and a President, all elected by the people. Alderney is not part of the United Kingdom and is not a member of the European Union.
Black refuse bag household waste collected by dustcarts from around The Alderney transfers into compacting containers for shipment to the Mont Cuet landfill site on Guernsey. Bulky household waste discarded by the public – typically furniture and furnishings – is also containerised and shipped to Guernsey. End of life vehicles, white goods and scrap of all grades move from Alderney to Guernsey. This includes major contaminates like oils and batteries.