On a Jersey path to zero-waste – Re-use and recycle

Reduce, reuse, recycle - Two encircling arrows made from waster, one in green and one in red
Reduce, reuse, recycle

Oops! We are only 4 weeks into this new year, and in to my Jersey path to zero waste, and I seem to have lost a week already.  How very careless of me….. I have to say last week was a little crazy, even by my standards!   My week was taken up by a little flurry of media attention about the zero-waste goals and I spent the best part of my spare time chatting to journalists and presenters.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to Bailiwick Express, BBC Radio Jersey and the Jersey Evening Post for running with the story – and here are the links if you missed them:


https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04mjc5s (from 3:09:40)


The central hub of the Recycling Centre

That said I did have time for a special event in the week – the opening of the Household Reuse and Recyling Centre at La Colette, St Helier.  I was invited for a tour of the centre by the lovely Emma Richardson-Calladine, Recycling Manager for the States of Jersey.

The side of a building, clad in reclaimed wood of varying colors, with circular windows surrounded by old tyres.
Cladding with a recycled edge

Our first port of call was to the Acorn Reuse centre to the left in the La Colette site.  Carrying on with the ethos of recycling, this building has utilised the steel frames from the old Jersey Pottery site at Gorey for its internal structure,  reused aggregates and glass in its build, and is clad in a mixture of recycled materials such as reclaimed wood and tyres.  Photovoltaic panels and rainwater harvesting complete their green credentials, with shortfalls in energy supplied by the nearby Energry from Waste plant – from burning the materials at the dump which are non-recyclable.

Reducing by recycling in action.

Even the outside decoration has stayed true to the guiding principles.  Local artist Ian Rolls was commissioned to create decorative panels – the words Reduce, Reuse and Recycle have been crafted from recycled waste materials –  colourful toys, used paint brushes, old mobile phones, toy spades, etc.

A large building with a sloped blue roof, a car sitting outside whilst a gentlemen in bright orange high-viz clothing assists
Acorn Reuse Centre at work.

The States of Jersey have partnered with local charity Acorn on a social enterprise project as part of the the Jersey Employment Trust, which will provide training and employment for local people in the process of reusing, up-cycling and mending some of the tonnes and tonnes of usable, but unwanted, items which make their way to the dump every year.  The main difference between the reuse centre here and the old tin shed at Bellozane being that at La Colette it is just a collection point.  Items are collected and sorted here, and then transported to Acorn Enterprises in Trinity where they will then be checked, repaired or upcycled to national reuse standards and then sold to the public.  Acorn also work with local charities such as Mind Jersey, Autism Jersey and Headway Jersey.

A selection of containers for separating our recycleable materials such as cardboard, paper, phones and glasses.
Nothing going to waste here

The remainder of the site is laid out in a drive-through loop, no need to reverse here, and the traffic flows much more smoothly.  This link shows the layout of the site and can help you work out where you need to go before you get here.

Large bays at the ready to collect recyclable materials
Huge bays ready for your waste

I was surprised at the actual amount of different things that can be dealt with here:  Batteries, bulky waste, car batteries, cardboard, cooking oil, cooling appliances, electricals, engine oil, fire extinguishers, flammable pressurised canisters, flat glass, hardcore and rubble, household and garden chemicals,  kitchen waste, laptops, tablets and PDAs, large appliances, metal packaging, metals, mixed glass (bottles and jars), mixed light bulbs and tubes, mixed textiles and clothes, mobile phones, non-flammable pressurised canisters, non-recyclable hardcore and rubble, paint, paper, plasterboard, plastic bottles, printer cartridges, smoke alarms, soil, spectacles, telephone directories and tvs and monitors.

An open side building with a variety of containers to collect and separate recyclable materials
Interior of the recycling centre

Phew….  Of course not all of those materials are recycleable.  Some, like the bulky waste, are destined for the fiery furnace but wherever possible materials are recycled.  I was surprised about the misconceptions which abound about what is and isn’t done with separated waste.

A huge skip for collection paper for recycling
The paper mill.

Paper, cardboard and plastic bottles are sent to the UK for processing.  Metals and metal packaging go to  EMR Jersey Limited to process and who ship to the UK or Europe depending on prices.  Glass is crushed and used as an aggregate in local reclamation and building projects.

A selection of containers for separating recyclable materials
Chose your receptacle.

The main ‘decoys’ are the bins for plastic bags and bottle tops – these are there only to collect these items so that they are kept out of the other type of recycleable materials – and then they are added to the greedy mouth of the Energy from Waste plant. With the exception of some of the bottle tops which are used by local schools in Design and Technology projects.

Behind the recycling skips, showing the area which is out of bounds to the general user, the domain of the heavy machinery used to empty and move the skips
The back of beyond

The site is more user friendly and feels safer now that the heavy machinery used to move and empty the huge skips of materials are now separate to the users access – meaning that there is no need to delay or stop people from using the centre day to day.

Bottle top cladding

So, on the whole, I think this is an amazing facility.  Emma tells me that in Jersey we are currently recycling one third of our waste.  I think thats a decent amount, given that there are so very few home collections.  This is people choosing to make the effort to recycle their waste.  So whilst there huge room for improvement, its good to know that a huge chunk of our community already cares about our environment.

The letter 'C' created using colourful recycled toys
Pretty plastic pollution

My only bug bear is that there is so much waste that is non-recyclable, so much that is not being recycled, and so much waste which is truly not necessary.  We ship in plastic bottles, use the contents, and then ship the waste out – what a huge waste of natural resources that is, from the original extraction of raw materials, energy and materials used in the manufacturing process, energy and packaging to allow it to be shipped, energy and transport costs to get it to Jersey, energy to transport it to the shops and supermarkets, energy to get it home to use, energy to take it to the recycling centre, then manpower and energy costs to organize and sort the waste, then more costs and energy to ship back to the the UK once more.  Surely there has to be a better way?????

A van with a table outside, piled high with gifted clothes and shoes
Mustard Seed collection point at Homegrown

On the home front this week, realizing that Mustard Seed were holding a collection point at Homegrown, we did an initial clear out/declutter in our wardrobes – looking for warm clothing and shoes to gift on to the Romanian groups that Rose Helie helps through Mustard Seed.  3 black bin liners later and we were done – warm clothing to Europe, our wardrobes have been partially de-cluttered, and we are happy in the knowledge that our warm gifts are going where they are needed.

Out household non-recyclable waste at the end of Week 3 on our Jersey path to zero waste was 1.5kg (year to date 6.6kg).

Have you visited the Reuse and Recycling Centre yet?  What did you think?  How are your recyling or zero-waste goals coming on? – come and join the chat on the Zero Waste Jersey facebook page.

Have a great week!

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  1. This is a brilliant step forward. Next we need to outlaw all plastic bags! There are plastic bags which are biodegradable and these would be better than the present ones, but better still carrier bags made from hemp or recycled paper bags would be the answer. If shoppers have to pay more then so be it. If the charge was high enough then people would eventually remember to bring a bag with them when they shop.

    1. I agree, but plastic bags are just the tip of the iceberg – you look on any shop shelf and it is just filled with row upon row of plastic bottles and tubs and film wrapped goods. It’s ridiculous – especially given we can’t even recycle a large part of them in JErsey.

  2. Quite a while back we took some plastic tubs (for fruit/veg etc) to Guernsey when we went with the car.

    I don’t know if they still accept these, and I have another huge collection piling up in the garage.