Minister suggests 'pay-as-you-throw' system for waste could encourage recycling

  • Ministers speak to ITV News about how Jersey could increase the amount of waste recycled

People in Jersey may soon need to pay for their black bag waste, in a bid to up the island's low recycling rate.

Jersey currently only recycles 27% of its waste, compared to a much higher 72% in Guernsey.Now, one Jersey politician says the only way to make this figure climb, is to enforce a 'pay-as-you-throw' system, like that seen in Guernsey.

Deputy Tom Binet, Jersey's Infrastructure Minister said: "There will probably have to be a 'user pays' element if we're going to move away from that, but that will all become sort of apparent once we've done the strategy."

Deputy Tom Binet says charging to dispose of rubbish would be one way to encourage recycling.

Although Jersey's Environment Minister says whilst Guernsey has seen success in a format like this, more needs to be done to encourage islanders to recycle.

Deputy Jonathan Renouf, Jersey's Minister for the Environment, said: "Certainly, Guernsey has set a very, very good example.

"It's interesting to note that the way they did that was by charging for non-recyclable waste, and if we're going to achieve high recycling rates ourselves, we're going to have to look at how we incentivise people to recycle and we will have to engage with the public to see where the pain threshold lies."

Whilst introducing a 'pay-as-you-go' system like this could have its rewards, there are concerns given the current cost of living crisis. Earlier this week, Deputy Binet told ITV News "I think there's only one challenge for me and the principal challenge is the business of making people pay for a service that they're currently getting for nothing.

"If we were in normal economic times, that would be fine, but we're facing an economic crisis and that really does worry me."

Over the past five years, Jersey's rate of recycling has dropped from 30% to just 27%.

But these are figures that came as a surprise to the island's Infrastructure Minister.

Deputy Binet said: "That's the first I've heard of it. I have to be honest, I go back to saying 'I've been [in the role] for 16 weeks.'"

Environment Minister, Deputy Jonathan Renouf, says the Jersey's 27% recycling rate is 'clearly nothing to be proud of'.

But his Ministerial colleague, Deputy Renouf, said it is something he is closely monitoring:

"Clearly, our recycling rates are nothing to be proud of, quite the opposite.

"I think we really need to up our game. I've been looking back recently at the 2005 waste strategy, and we had ambitions then to get our recycling rates over 30%.

"Now they're currently below that, you know, and now 15, 16, 17 years on, so clearly, we've not done well." Whilst the two Ministers have different perceptions of Jersey's current position, they share the same message in that the island needs to do more to make this rate climb.

It is hoped that an upcoming new Waste Management Plan will help manage these dwindling figures and encourage islanders to live more sustainably.