Sunday 22 October 2017

"We need more incentives for commercial recycling"

Monday 17 July 2017

Little is being done to encourage businesses to recycle in town according to one café owner, who says better facilities should be available.

Mark Cilliers, the owner of Big J, Roast and Loaf, says that more incentives to recycle are needed, especially in light of the soon-to-be introduced commercial waste charges.

The business owner says not much appears to be done jointly between the Parish and the States, meaning that businesses are left with little to no ways of recycling. He explains: "There is no joint approach, the States do one thing and the Parish another. Everyone looks after their playground and no one wants to help each other. There is not much information for what is available to businesses and no arrangement to collect plastic or aluminium cans, among others."

A number of bins and skips "for small quantities of recyclates" are available to businesses at the Energy from Waste Plant, where they go to dispose of their rubbish. They can go to Reclamait at Rue des Pres for large quantities of paper and cardboard and to the scrap yard at Bellozanne Valley for metals. Businesses are then charged according to how much recyclates they bring. As for vegetable peelings and coffee grounds, which sometimes form a big part of the cafés and restaurants waste, the Department for Infrastructure does not currently operate a food waste composting system. 

Mark Cilliers Roast/Loaf/Big J

Pictured: Mark Cilliers, the owner of Big J, Roast and Loaf on Sand Street.

While DfI say they, "...are currently reviewing the commercial recycling opportunities and hope to be able to provide improved services in the future", Mark Cilliers says they should look into bringing recycling facilities in town, closer to where the waste is being produced. Having resorted to dropping his recycling in domestic bins by the Parade Gardens, Mark Cilliers says this is neither a viable option nor a permanent one.

He explains: "Most businesses are in town and yet the recycling centre is out of the way. The options available are either pay someone to collect our recycling or drive to the recycling centre. Neither is really enticing as you are either facing a charge or a solution that is not entirely practicable. I would love to see facilities in town for commercial use, ideally without a charge."

The café/take-away owner uses as an example the little hut offered by the Parish where he and other businesses can drop their cardboard. "We all have a key and can drop whatever cardboard we have. Then, once a day, the Parish comes and collect it. It would be great to see that available to more businesses but the Parish doesn't want to pay for more collections. They already pay rent to the States for the hut! Again, it seems like everyone is working against each other, rather than together."

With the waste charges fast approaching, Mark Cilliers says he is "desperate" to reduce his waste. "It looks to me more like a way of making money than reducing waste. It is a disaster, it hasn't been thought through! It is an easy way of creating revenue by introducing a tax, that will ultimately target small businesses, without helping the environment.

"If businesses are going to be charged for their general waste as well as when they recycle, where is the incentive to sort their rubbish? Most of them will just dump everything in the same bag and not even bother with recycling."

 "It is important for me as a person to recycle," he explains. While he campaigns to the Parish to implement commercial recycling, he has turned to alternative ways to reduce his waste. He recently joined the Olio food-waste revolution sharing any food he cannot sell past their 'best before' date with volunteers who distribute it to islanders through an app. He has also been offering his coffee grounds to gardeners who use them as fertilisers.

Having recently become a member of the Eco Active network, an environmental management scheme for businesses or organisations, Mark Cilliers is "committed to lessen our impact on the environment." And he wishes the States would do more to promote environmental protection.  

"It does not seem to be at the top of their agenda because there is no money to be made from it. We always look with envy at the Scandinavian countries and how well they are doing. But it is time to take action. People want to see something done, let's make a difference! The recycling centre at la Collette is amazing, I saw a lot of people there, how about we encourage more to go?" 

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