Chamber of Commerce
Waste Strategy Position Statement
The Channel Islands are making progress toward management of island waste and resources. Opening a dialogue to partner with Jersey is an obvious and welcome way forward, but the long awaited for revised waste strategy is only a starting point. While the momentum is now here to finalise a waste strategy which would place Guernsey among the top recycling countries in Europe, there is much, much more to be done. Work streams that will come out of this revised plan will be complicated and will require a great deal of input from stakeholders across the commercial and business community, as well as householders. It is now up to each company and individual to put the desire to see the Waste Hierarchy at the centre of waste management into action and to look at their business and personal habits and evaluate how much more they could save if they applied waste prevention across every area of their business plan.
Guernsey Waste Strategy
November saw the announcement by PSD that we are to enter into negotiations for part of our waste to be treated in Jersey, as well as the release of the revised waste strategy to statutory bodies for comment. Both of these events are in keeping with the March 2010 resolution of the States to:-
4. “Ascertain from the States of Jersey the most beneficial contractual terms on which the States of Jersey will agree to import and dispose of waste exported from Guernsey”
5. “ to direct the public services to return to the States as soon as practicable with a Report setting out proposals for a revised strategy for disposing of solid waste.”
This timely announcement comes nearly one year into the commissioning phase of the Jersey plant, therefore allowing for the negotiations to be informed by baseline operating facts and figures. As well as the pressing need for Guernsey to find a medium to long term solution for residual waste disposal, the negotiations to agree a reasonable gate fee will revolve around factors such as the need for Jersey to increase waste throughput in order to operate the plant efficiently, correct make up of the feedstock, and if the plant is R1 rated, the potential for discounts to be applied to the gate fee as the process will generate energy for Jersey. Regulatory issues to do with transshipment of waste, which will include laws to export from Guernsey and laws to import to Jersey, will also be a matter for research during this negotiation period.
The rejection of the Suez plant in March 2010 was in great measure attributable to the considerable pressure applied to the States by members of the public to put in place an effective waste management strategy based on the Waste Hierarchy, with waste prevention, reuse and recycling as the preferred options for managing resources. The desire of the people of Guernsey to prevent waste and to increase recycling was again clearly reflected in the lengthy consultation process embarked on by PSD to inform waste and resource management options and resulted in calls to increase the current 50% recycling target to 70% in three of the options that evolved from the process.
Having reached a recycling rate of 37%, which rises to 45.8% including green waste, for household waste and 41.6% for commercial recycling, in 2010, this means that strategies to capture a further 25-30% of island resources need to be nailed down. Once decided upon, further negotiations to procure services and appropriate infrastructure will need to be entered into. Presently waste collections are the responsibility of the parishes, paid for by parish rates. Waste disposal is the responsibility of PSD and recycling is done on a voluntary basis and collected at various sites around the island. The current arrangement may not withstand the changes that lie ahead.
Kerbside collection of source separated material is the preferred method to capture clean, recyclable material. Most commonly this method is used in conjunction with alternate weekly collection whereby, for example, recyclables and green waste are collected one week, followed by collection of residual black bag waste the next. Such detail as negotiation of existing refuse contracts, education and awareness, colour of bags, phasing of collection arrangements and enforcement are still grist to the mill and will provide fertile grounds for more consultation.
Then there is the matter of facilities to house an MRF to sort the recycling into separate materials, to bulk and then bail that material, and to store it for onward transfer to UK or Europe, whichever is paying the most for our clean resource. The question of who gets to keep the revenue from the sale of our recyclable material will no doubt be a key negotiating factor. Flexibility when negotiating new contracts will play an important part in determining the allocation of risk and return, an equal measure of each being the line between failure and profit for the service providers. Due to planning constraints and lack of a solid waste strategy to date, there has been limited potential for other service providers to enter the market and perhaps provide a more competitive service. This raises the question of whether the Longue Hougue site will be tendered out in lots for bids to provide a range of services from the shredding of bulky furniture, collection of waste electronic and electrical equipment, to the building and operation of a household waste recycling centre in line with 21st century expectations and end user requirements. There is still much to be decided upon.
While preventing waste and slowing waste growth are at the top of the waste hierarchy, they are the hardest activities to measure and take the most effort and time to implement. DEFRA revised projected annual waste growth downwards from 1.5% per annum to 1% in 2009 and the continuing depressed economic landscape will have a further affect on our appetite to consume. This is good news for any potential waste prevention element of the revised strategy, as changing behaviour is hard work for any government when budgets and resources are limited. In this respect there is a wealth of knowledge and resources that can be replicated in Guernsey which will greatly reduce costs related to education and raising awareness and accessing existing services. There is a certain irony that in this case, Guernsey will benefit from being a laggard through being able to access resources already paid for by the English Landfill Tax.
Other points to consider with regard our seemingly tortuous process are that we are not alone. The awareness raising to prevent waste, the pilot projects to change the way we collect waste, the campaign groups set up in Norfolk, Guildford, Exeter, Cornwall to name but a few and across Europe to propose better solutions than mass burn incinerators are all testament to the emotive and testing subject that is waste and resources collection and final disposal.
The lengthy process has allowed all these communities as well as those of Guernsey and Jersey, to rethink how we manufacture goods, where we buy our goods from, how we can reuse more goods locally and has provided food for thought on the twin issues of global resource constraints and climate change.
Head of Energy & Waste Sub Group
 R1 formula is the formula used to establish the threshold above which energy efficient municipal waste incinerators can be classified as recovery facilities and below which they continue to be classified as disposal facilities.