Guernsey gears up for ‘pay-as-you-throw’ scheme

Starting next month (February) residents of the Channel Island of Guernsey will be required to purchase payment stickers as part of a new ‘pay-as-you-throw’ (PAYT) scheme for residual waste.

These payment stickers must be placed on all residual waste put out for collection by households, States of Guernsey has said.

From February, all households in Guernsey must place a payment sticker on all general rubbish they put out for collection

From February 3, each black bag of waste put out for collection must display either a £1.40 sticker for each bag of up to 50-litre capacity or a £2.50 sticker for each bag of up to 90-litre capacity. Collection crews will not collect bags that do not have the appropriate payment sticker.

Stickers will not be required for fortnightly recyclable waste collections, which see plastic, tins and cartons collected in a blue bag, paper and cardboard in a clear bag, and glass bottles and jars in a green bag or for separate food waste collections.

Residents can buy the stickers from retailers on the island including Aladdin’s Cave, Alliance, Co-op, Forest Stores, Iceland, M&S Food Halls, Morrison’s and Waitrose.

States of Guernsey announced last year that it would be introducing the PAYT system from 2019. This was followed by the introduction of the new collections for food waste and glass which were rolled out in September 2018 (see story).

Guernsey is one of the Channel Islands located between the English and French coastlines and is a self-governing British Crown dependency. The island has a population of over 60,000.

At present, the island’s residual waste is exported to Sweden through a contract with the refuse derived fuel specialist Geminor – which began in October 2018, and is set to run for up to three years. This is anticipated to total between 20,000 to 25,000 tonnes of waste per-year.

PAYT has been a controversial topic in the past, with some experts in the UK waste and recycling sector having called for the measure to be implemented to boost flat-lining recycling rates.

However, critics of PAYT schemes have expressed concerns that it would be seen as a ‘stealth tax’ by householders and could potentially lead to increases in the illegal dumping of waste.

Below: An information video on the PAYT system produced by the States of Guernsey

The new charge will pay some of the cost of the facilities provided by the States to sort, process, recycle, treat and dispose of Guernsey’s waste. The rest will be recovered through an annual charge of £85 per household – about £1.65 per week – for which bills be sent to homeowners in February.

States of Guernsey has warned that anyone who tries to avoid the ‘pay as you throw’ charge may be liable to a fixed penalty of up to £60. Or if found guilty of fly-tipping, could face a fine of £20,000 and a criminal conviction.

States of Guernsey says: “This new ‘pay as you throw’ charge is to encourage islanders to think about their waste, and reduce the amount they throw away. Those who produce the most, will pay the most.”

States also asks residents not to use any bags larger than 90 litres as they are not permitted for household waste and will not be collected.