The main aim of our review was to explore how Jersey can reduce its use of plastics.
After a full and detailed investigation, the Panel has concluded that there needs to be tougher government action on plastics. Current government initiatives are based on public awareness measures, but more robust economic policy initiatives are needed, as well as regulatory bans for avoidable single-use plastics.
PLASTIC POLLUTION: A GLOBAL ISSUE
Plastic pollution is a global issue which causes harm to the environment in the form of air, water and land pollution and has negative effects on plant life, wildlife and the human population. As reported on the BBC’s Blue Planet II in 2017, the effects of plastic pollution on marine wildlife are particularly devastating.
SO WHAT CAN JERSEY DO?
The European Union is introducing rules to target the 10 most common single-use plastics found on Europe’s beaches. Where alternatives are readily available and affordable, single-use plastic products will be banned from the market. The Panel has recommended that the Government of Jersey should align itself with the EU and ban all avoidable single-use plastics.
PLASTIC RECYCLING IN JERSEY
Jersey currently only recycles plastics bottles, agricultural crop cover and supermarket film and whilst the estimated figure for plastic bottles is 6%, the figures for the latter two plastic materials are not known. In order to set realistic recycling targets into the future, the Panel has recommended that there needs to be more robust methods for calculating the amount of plastic waste in the waste stream and, specifically, how much of this is recycled and incinerated.
ISLAND-WIDE KERBSIDE RECYCLING
A number of submissions to the review indicate that there needs to be a more unified and consistent approach to kerbside recycling collections across the island, as currently only half of the parishes offer this.
"Kerbside collection for all regardless of parish - not everyone has a car to take their waste to the recycling facility and a lot of people are too busy to fit in a weekly trip to la collette [sic]. The easier it is to recycle the more people will do it"
"If there was kerbside recycling throughout the Island, then far more would take place, and it could be compulsory"
WHAT OTHER INITIATIVES COULD JERSEY INTRODUCE?
A number of submissions to the review suggested other alternative approaches Jersey could introduce to encourage plastic reduction, such as: public water fountains / refill stations and a bottle deposit scheme.
THE ROLE OF BUSINESSES IN PLASTIC REDUCTION
Local businesses which use or sell plastic materials, particularly plastic packaging, also have an important role to play and many businesses are taking steps to reduce plastic packaging. Evidence obtained from submissions reveals that they often face challenges in doing so and further government support is needed to reduce plastic consumption.
BETTER GOVERNMENT ENGAGEMENT WITH INDUSTRY NEEDED
"While many fishermen will be aware of the need to reduce waste in general and plastics specifically, I suspect that there are some who give it little time or thought… There has not been any engagement between the industry and the environment department on the issue of reducing plastic waste, but we do enjoy a reasonably good working relationship and would be happy to look at any cooperation that may be required to set up any new initiatives" - Jersey Fishermen's Asscociation
JERSEY'S IMPORTATION OF PLASTIC PACKAGING
The importation of plastic packaging into Jersey has its challenges, however there are various economic and regulatory policy levers which can be utilised by government to reduce and minimise the amount of plastic coming into the island; especially with regard to avoidable single-use plastics for which other eco-friendly alternatives exist. Manufacturer obligations due to be imposed by the EU will also go some way towards influencing the market on plastic packaging.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
The Panel has presented its report to the States Assembly and will await a Ministerial Response from both the Minister for Infrastructure and the Minister for the Environment as to whether they accept the report's recommendations. If they do, a monitoring plan will be put in place to follow up on the adoption of the recommendations within the timescales set.
If the Panel's main recommendation of aligning with the EU directive is accepted and implemented, it will see the Government of Jersey imposing regulatory bans on many single-use plastics.
Created with an images by: echosystem - "dock container export" Plastic Free Jersey "1,630 individual pieces of plastic collected from a 700m stretch of beach at La Mare, Jersey."