Updated Jun 29, 2020

Guernsey records one of the highest recycling rates in the world

After introducing an innovative strategy in 2018, Guernsey is now recycling and composting 73% of its household waste. Its 70% target on recycling of household waste by 2030 was exceeded in the first year of implementation of the strategy.

The increase is down to implementing measures such as separate food waste collections for composting and fortnightly general waste disposal. Also, the successful introduction of the pay-as-you-throw scheme, which involves placing a sticker with a separate charge of £1.40 for smaller bin bags up to 50 litres or £2.50 for a 90-litre black bag. This has helped islanders separate all possible waste for recycling or composting, before discarding items into the general waste bag.

In comparison, the average recycling rate of household waste collected by local authorities in England in 2019 is below 45% and has not improved over the last ten years. This figure falls short of the EU target of recycling a minimum of 50% of household waste by 2020.

Waste management in Guernsey is quite expensive, where on top of paying for each waste bag there is an annual standing charge of £85. This is because charges need to account for waste shipment due to the main landfill site on the island now reaching its capacity. The cost of disposal could pose an increased risk of fly-tipping, however, prosecution for such an offence carries a £20,000 fine and a criminal conviction, which is viewed by the authorities as a good deterrent.