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Pay as you throw plan for waste

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Friday 20 December 2013

Households who produce the most waste will in future pay the highest refuse bills, under plans from Public Services in the January Billet.

The Department will tomorrow publish proposals to begin exporting waste for off-island treatment and introduce a new charging system that rewards households that recycle and reduce waste. The new arrangements should be in place from 2016, once the required legislation and on-island processing facilities are in place.

The report effectively sets out the detail of how the Department proposes to implement the waste strategy approved by the States in 2012. This set new recycling targets, rising to 70% by 2025, and identified export as the preferred option for dealing with waste that is not recycled.

Public Services was directed to report back with full costings for export, as well as legislation and policy recommendations to support the overall objective of minimising waste.

The Department proposes developing Longue Hougue, building new on-island recycling and processing facilities, and dealing with the long term future of Mont Cuet as a cost of up to £29.5 million. However it is confident not all this investment will be required.

Cost estimates for off-island treatment are also now well below what was anticipated in 2012 when the States opted for export. The Department expects falling waste volumes across Europe and increased competition among energy from waste plants will see this reduce further. It is proposing to delay tendering until late next year, closer to when exports could begin.

Material exported for off-island treatment will go to an energy from waste plant, where it will be used to generate either electricity or a combination of heat and power.

Given current estimates, the average household waste bill would rise from just over £2 a week now to between £3.75 and £4.50.

Under Public Services' proposals, recycling will remain voluntary but for the first time islanders will have a financial incentive. Households that produce the least waste will pay the least.

The current system of waste charges, based solely on household TRP, would be replaced with a combination of fixed and per bag fees. The first element would cover universal services such as waste and recycling collections, and the provision of on-island processing facilities.

Official bags will have to be purchased from local outlets for both refuse and recycling, but with the latter costing significantly less to encourage waste minimisation.

These changes require legislation that stipulates the current charging system, dating back to the 1950s, to be replaced. Public Services is proposing the new law would leave parishes to arrange collections both for refuse and recycling, and appoint their own contractor.

Currently parishes set refuse rates to cover their contractor's costs and the gate fees at Mont Cuet for disposing of their waste. In future, they would only charge the collection element.

All other costs for household waste management, including on-island processing, recycling and export, would be covered by a combination of a fixed rate per household and the new bag charge. These would be set by Public Services.

The report only sets out the proposed charging mechanisms, with a further States Report planned for next year which will include the details.

Businesses will still make their own waste management arrangements. However small companies, producing similar waste to a typical household, will be entitled to opt in to the parish collection system, including kerbside recycling.

Public Services is proposing to go out to tender next year to award contracts to design, build and operate the required processing facilities. The final costs will not be confirmed until these appointments have been made, but the Department is confident a competitive procurement process will result in contract costs below the current estimates.

The Department has already carried at a full market review to assess the viability and cost of export. 18 operators subsequently expressed interest in taking the island's waste, and these were scored and then reduced to a shortlist of five.

These five were invited to submit detailed costs, including any shipping and other transport charges, in the same way as they would in a formal tender process.

Proposed costs for four of the five operators were significantly below the estimate of £182 per tonne when the States agreed the waste strategy in 2012. The lowest was £109 a tonne, which includes all shipping, transport, on-island processing prior to export, and final treatment.

The fifth operator quoted much higher transport and processing cost, which was more than three times the cheapest. This would increase average household bills to an estimated £5.75 a week, but it is considered unlikely the States would enter into a contract at that level of pricing.

Under the proposals, parishes will also be given new enforcement powers to impose fixed penalties on households who repeatedly put out waste on the wrong nights or not using recycling bags as intended.

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