St Brelade Constable Mike Jackson said that litter had been spilling onto the streets in St Aubin in particular, with more outlets in the area now supplying takeaway food.
‘The normal bin-fill rate is monitored and if they’re not filled up, they are not collected so regularly,’ he said. ‘That was the case with our bins until the change in legislation and Covid-19 restrictions. Since then we’ve seen a massive increase in the need for bins and there wasn’t the capacity for emptying them. The predominance of takeaway services has really rocketed, with takeaway drinks waste being a real problem. It wasn’t thought about and there were no extra provisions,’ he added.
According to Mr Jackson, the Infrastructure Department has now installed an extra six bins in the area. However, those bins were found to be overflowing at the weekend.
‘We’re going to keep an eye on them and continue to monitor the situation,’ he said.
St Helier Constable Simon Crowcroft added that his parish had also had to adapt to deal with more rubbish in recent weeks.
‘It has been noted that more cardboard is being collected – [due to] online shopping and takeaways,’ said the Constable, who explained that the Island’s recycling centre had seen an increase of 20% in cardboard waste before Christmas.
Mr Crowcroft added: ‘We have increased the number of bins, especially in hot-spot locations, along with emptying twice a day – [this was] previously only once a day. Glass collections have increased from three days to five days a week and we also have increased the number of glass-bring sites. We still get the odd call about overflow which we deal with using the late crews.’
St Ouen Constable Richard Buchanan said that the increased fill rate of public bins could be explained by the fact that more people were meeting friends outside.
‘It is one of those Covid events where it’s a bit unexpected,’ he said. ‘We wouldn’t normally get so many people out on a winter’s day when the weather is miserable.
‘I went to St Ouen’s Bay over the Christmas weekend and there was a staggering amount of people there. The weather wasn’t that good, but people clearly wanted to take advantage of meeting friends outside.
‘As far as I’m aware we haven’t had any complaints in St Ouen, but I can understand how waste issues have happened. In the normal course of events those bins wouldn’t get emptied between Christmas and New Year, as there would be nobody down there. But it’s a strange time we are living in and there are more people out and about.
Mr Buchanan added that Islanders should let the relevant parish know if they see any overflowing bins.
‘It’s just one of those things – we can’t go inspecting everywhere 24 hours a day,’ he said.
‘If someone rings up and says there’s a problem, we’ll always do our best to get it sorted. The Infrastructure team have been good at reacting quickly and will sort it out. Or Islanders can ring the parish Constable and we’ll sort it out.’
Meanwhile, the Journey to Zero Waste Jersey campaign group have said that some takeaway containers can be recycled.
Tasha Cormack, an administrator for the Journey to Zero Waste Jersey Facebook page, said: ‘I do think the additional waste is part of a trade-off for supporting local businesses, but I hate to see so much waste all the same. I make a takeaway an occasional treat because of that. We are aware of one takeaway that has started to use metal containers which can be recycled or reused. I know a lot of people re-use the plastic containers for storing and freezing food, so they definitely don’t need to be single use. If you don’t have a use for them yourself, then you can advertise them on Ecycle or our group. I’m sure they will be snapped up.
‘I think for other Islanders and for myself it’s an unfortunate part of the Covid situation, especially if you have been in isolation or are shielding. I don’t think anyone should feel guilty about their choices and should just look after their health and do the best they can. Those of us who have put waste-free shopping on hold can return to it when the Covid situation improves.’
When asked about the situation, a government spokesperson said: ‘Since Covid-19 restrictions were introduced there has been an increase in the amount of waste placed in public bins, because items that would normally be put in bins at home, in a restaurant, or office, are being disposed of in public bins.
‘The number of public bins around the Island has increased in response, and waste disposal and recycling services are operating as normal.
‘To help reduce the amount of waste, Islanders are asked to avoid buying takeaway drinks in disposable containers and instead use reusable cups. However, infection control may mean this is not always be possible, and the avoidance of the spread of Covid-19 should be the priority.’