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Plastic recycling rate still ‘shockingly low’

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THE rate of plastic bottle recycling is still ‘shockingly low’ and the lack of focus on recycling metals ‘very disappointing’, a government official has said.

Emma Richardson-Calladine

During a Scrutiny hearing, recycling manager Emma Calladine-Richardson said that less single-use plastic is now being used by Islanders and the rate of plastic bottle recycling grew last year to 8% from 6% the year before.

During the hearing, Ms Calladine-Richardson agreed with an estimate that Jersey uses about five to six million plastic bottles each year.

In response to questioning from panel chairman Constable Mike Jackson, she said that an extra six tonnes of plastic bottles were recycled in Jersey last year compared to 2018.

‘There’s about 20,000 plastic bottles to a tonne, so that’s around 120,000 more plastic bottles that were collected for recycling year-on-year,’ she said.

‘I absolutely feel that there is more we could do. Part of the basics is working with all of the parishes to deliver home recycling collections, so that it brings it to the doorstep and makes it the norm in everyday home life.

‘In parallel we are working with businesses. With them, although we are developing recycling collections for their staff, quite often we are talking more about reducing their consumption of single-use items.

‘Once we have got the basic access to recycling facilities in everybody’s daily lives then the next stage will be to fill in the gaps, like between home and work.’

Mr Jackson asked whether Ms Calladine-Richardson agreed that the recycling ratio was still ‘miles too low’.

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She said that she felt the figures were ‘shockingly low’ and that ‘a lot of work needs to be done’.

Deputy Kirsten Morel asked whether she felt that enough was being done to encourage recycling of metals in the Island also, such as aluminium cans.

Ms Calladine-Richardson said that more awareness of metal recycling would be ‘very welcome’ and was a priority for the department.

‘When looking at metal packaging, household cans and foil packaging, the figures are very similar [to plastic bottles],’ she said.

‘It’s very disappointing. There has been a huge focus on plastic and there have been significant changes but certainly for the department, metal and metal packaging is going to be a focus.

‘We don’t want metal going through the energy recovery facility. It’s something that we always talk about because metal can be recycled forever without losing any of its properties.’

Ian Heath

By Ian Heath
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