EXCLUSIVE: States of Guernsey is set to introduce a ‘pay as you throw’ system (PAYT) for residual waste collections next year. The system, which involves a charge for disposal of residual waste, is a controversial topic and has not yet been introduced by any UK local authorities.
From 2019, parishes in Guernsey will begin charging for collections of general ‘black bag’ waste. The States will then recover the costs of any subsequent processing, treatment and disposal.
This will include a payment per bag of waste produced, using a system of prepaid stickers. This will be equivalent to putting a stamp on a letter to pay the cost of postage, the authority said.
In addition, an annual fixed charge could also be levied per household, to reflect some of the fixed costs of the various household waste and recycling services provided by the States.
Guernsey is one of the Channel Islands in the English Channel and is a self-governing British Crown dependency and is not officially a part of the UK.
PAYT has been a controversial topic in the past, with some experts in the UK waste and recycling sector concerned that it could lead to uncertain revenues for councils and increases in illegal dumping of waste.
However, others have highlighted the benefits of the charging system as a way to significantly reduce waste and increase recycling (see letsrecycle.com story).
The possible implementation of PAYT in the UK has been a subject of discussion, with fears of public opposition (see letsrecycle.com story).
Guernsey’s States Committee for the Environment & Infrastructure (CfE&I) and States’ Trading Supervisory Board (STSB) has been directed to prepare further proposals for the implementation of the new charges. These are expected to be debated by the States in April, and will confirm the various charges.
The proposals will include options to fund from the States’ Capital Reserve some or all of the £32 million investment in new waste management facilities at Longue Hougue. This cost was originally to be funded through a loan, to be repaid from household and commercial waste charges over the next 20 years.
Once all the new services and facilities are introduced, the average cost per household is anticipated to be between £5.75 and £7 a week, the authority reports, depending on what decision is made on the capital funding. That total includes the charge for collections, paid to the parishes.
The States will also decide how much of the cost, if any, should be paid through an annual ‘standing charge’. This will determine the price to be paid per bag.
One option would see all the cost initially put on bag charges. Households would then pay between £3.50 and £4.50 for each bag they put out. If an annual fixed fee is levied, it is likely that the pay as you throw charge would be less than £3.50 per bag.
The States Trading Supervisory Board previously indicated that an annual £115 fixed charge would result in a bag charge of £2.50.
The news comes as States confirmed that new collections will be introduced for food waste and glass recycling from September 2018.
According to States, food waste accounts for more than 40% of the contents of household black bags.
As part of the changes, food waste will be collected weekly. Households will be able to reduce the remaining ‘black bag’ material, so that can be collected less frequently, the authority said.
This general refuse will become a fortnightly service for most, “to encourage waste reduction and recycling, reduce overall collection costs, and help households minimise their waste bills,” States explained.
Glass will be collected on alternate weeks, and the current blue and clear kerbside bag for other recycling will continue to be picked up fortnightly.
The new collection arrangements will begin from 2 September, a few weeks before a new transfer station at Longue Hougue starts operations. That facility will process waste from households and businesses prior to being exported for energy recovery or recycling.