Thursday 13 April 2023
The three remaining recycling bring bank sites at Salerie Corner, Waitrose Rohais and Longfrie Inn will close at the end of April, which will realise savings of around £100,000 a year.
Collection bins for textiles and books, which are operated by a private contractor on behalf of charities, are expected to remain open.
The closure announcement comes after figures show use of the bring bank sites has fallen to an all-time low following the Covid lockdowns.
Prior to 2019, the amount of paper, tins and cans, plastics and cartons collected through bring banks had already fallen by two thirds following the introduction of kerbside recycling collections in 2014. Since then, there has been a further drop of more than 65%.
Many households that had previously preferred to use bring banks switched to kerbside collection when the sites were closed during lockdown. Tonnages for 2022 suggest that most had not returned.
It is believed some of the material still being collected through the bring banks is from businesses. This is despite the sites being intended only for household use and funded through household waste charges.
An independent survey of more than 1,800 islanders, published last year, found that only 2% of households were still relying solely on bring banks to recycle paper, plastics, cartons, and tins/cans, and 3% for all their cardboard. Around nine out of ten households no longer used bring banks at all for most of these materials, preferring instead to use kerbside collection or the Household Waste & Recycling Centre.
Even for glass, just 8% of households relied solely on bring banks to recycle all their bottles and jars, whereas two thirds (68%) only ever used kerbside collection.
1,296 tonnes of plastics, tins and cartons were recycled by local households in 2022, of which only 68 tonnes were collected through bring banks.
Of the 3,100 tonnes of paper and card recycled in 2022, nearly a quarter was collected through bring banks. However, this tended to be bulkier cardboard items that are less easy to fit in kerbside bags, and for most islanders would usually only be for occasional purchases rather than everyday household materials.
Textiles and books now account for more than a third of the tonnages collected through bring banks, and those charity bins are expected to remain in place.
Excluding textiles and books, in 2022 glass and cardboard accounted for more than eight out of every 10 tonnes collected from the sites at Rohais, Salerie Corner and Longfrie Inn.
One islander who has continued to use bring banks is Deputy Peter Roffey, President of the States' Trading Supervisory Board (STSB). He said he would now be a reluctant convert to kerbside collection.
"Personally, I am incredibly sad to see the bring banks go as I have always used them for all my recycling.
"What tipped the balance for me was the States decision last year to partially fund the cost of household waste from general revenue, rather than relying solely on user charges. This means the £100,000 we spend each year on providing the bring banks is £100,000 that can't be spent on essential services.
"The STSB could not justify that when there is an alternative way for households to dispose of their recyclable waste via the kerbside collections, which is free to use. I am sorry for those, like me, who are going to have to adapt but Guernsey's financial situation simply does not permit spending on duplicated collection systems."
Facilities for dropping off glass and bulky cardboard are available at the Household Waste & Recycling Centre at Longue Hougue, along with bins for clear and blue kerbside bags.
Guernsey Waste's operations manager, Sarah Robinson, said: "Ten years ago we were reliant on bring banks for our household recycling. Since then the amount being recycled has increased significantly, but the proportion collected via bring banks has consistently fallen. That is a result of the popularity of kerbside collections, which the vast majority of households prefer.
"Post-Covid, the amount we collect through bring banks has fallen to such an extent we can no longer justify the cost of these facilities when other alternatives are readily available."