Sustainability is at the heart of our Islands' plans for the future. And there are many things happening on the islands to learn about.
The Islands of Guernsey are incredibly focused on protecting our islands for the future so that they can be enjoyed by for as long as possible. Read on for some ideas of how islanders are protecting the islands for themselves and many visitors for years to come.
Plastic in the oceans is a global issue and the prevention of it starts at home. Locals on the Islands of Guernsey are dedicated to protecting what we have. Many beach cleans are organised all over the island. Islanders are very proud of their home and often take part in both impromptu and organised beach cleans. Many organisations on the islands organise these events and most can be found listed under local events on Facebook if you want to take part on your next trip to the islands.
Local organisation, The Clean Earth Trust has placed litter pickers into local libraries and beach kiosks so that people can pop in and borrow them to walk around and pick up any stray litter. Some kiosks even offer a free ice cream to anyone who collects a bucket full of rubbish - a wonderful incentive.
There is nothing better than homegrown, local produce. You will find a lot of the Islands’ own fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as meat, eggs and dairy products in the local restaurants, shops and supermarkets. Many local companies also support local growers by offering veg and produce boxes for delivery to the islands’ home and restaurants.
Another wonderful way to embrace local, sustainable produce is via our Hedge Veg offering. If you spend any time at all wandering the lanes of the Islands of Guernsey, it won't be long until you happen upon a hedge veg stall, where Islanders sell their homegrown goods for a few pennies using an honesty box system. As well as spare Guernsey tomatoes, potatoes and eggs grown in local gardens and allotments, occasionally you may spot a well-thumbed classic novel left on a shelf for the next reader to enjoy.
There is a huge focus on sustainability in this tradition, with the idea that Islanders share their leftover produce or home baked goods, such as cakes and jams made from leftover ingredients, with the community. Many items on sale are either crafted from homegrown or upcycled products, or encourage sustainable packaging and the recycling or re-use of jars and containers, for conscience-free shopping.
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Or so they say. There are many community groups on Facebook where you can swap books, pick up unwanted furniture and recycle old materials. There are many advantages to being a part of a local community and helping your neighbours out.
Various Repair Cafes & Toy Hospital sessions are set up around the island to ‘tackle rampant consumerism, address mental health issues and improve social cohesion’. The sessions teach people how to fix things to cut down on a throwaway culture. The aim is ‘to ensure the transfer of skills between generations and reduce loneliness in older members of our community as well as generating a renewed sense of purpose.’
There is a lot of seaweed on the coast. And a lot of it is used in many different ways in cosmetics, farming, cooking and the fashion industry. Master Vraic man and head of Guernsey Seaweed, Ben started working with seaweed in 2017, using it as a fertiliser and then, together with local entrepreneur and gin maker, Luke Wheadon, created the world’s first seaweed hand sanitiser in 2020 to sustainably serve the islands during the pandemic. The seaweed is all hand picked and harvested. The seaweed product range now extends into superfoods and vegan leather with multiple additional strands to the business being added all the time.
Guernsey recently announced hitting its goal early for recycling 70% of waste produced. Our recycling and waste system is very effective and runs throughout every business and household in the Island. With chargeable black waste, Islanders have an added incentive to avoid purchasing non-recyclable goods.
We encourage all visitors to help us with our recycling mission. There are many ways to get involved - from using a reusable water bottle and taking advantage of the free water refill systems at many cafes and business around St Peter Port Town, to using our designated recycling and rubbish bins all over the Islands, making it easy to avoid left rubbish on our beaches and cliff paths.
The Guernsey Weigh
In addition to this, The Guernsey Weigh is the first zero waste store in Guernsey, located right in the middle of St Peter Port Town, in the old Market Buildings. The product range is vast, from dry goods such as pastas, grains, legumes, snacks, herbs and spices, baking staples and loose leaf teas to earth-friendly household items, toiletries and refillable cleaning products. That is not forgetting freshly squeezed orange juice from the juicer and a grind your own peanut butter machine for on the go snacks. It's a great way to support local businesses in a sustainable way, whether local or visiting - not all travel needs to involve single use plastic.
Alderney was the first Channel Island to introduce a milk vending machine in an effort to reduce plastic waste in 2019. They ran a pilot scheme where islanders filled reusable glass bottles with local milk. The scheme proved to be very popular, saving more than 14,000 bottles from going to landfill in just the first few months and so much so, a second machine was installed in a local supermarket on the island.
While, sadly, border restrictions prevent us from allowing visitors, be sure to bookmark this post for your future visit to The Islands. We have missed hosting tourists on our islands and we look forward to welcoming you back to our shores when it is safe to do so.