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Recycling industry impacts

Published on 23 April 2018
  • Environment
  • Waste and recycling

A message from the Mayor, Councillor Nora Lamont

As a consequence of China’s new policy regarding the exporting of recyclables, local governments have experienced a significant impact on recycling markets world-wide, which has been well documented in the state and national news.

While most of Victoria’s kerbside recycling material is sorted locally, significant quantities have been exported to China for processing.

With China no longer accepting recycling from Australia, all Victorian Councils are now feeling the impact with recycling processing companies seeking to reset contractual arrangements.

In Maroondah, instead of receiving a rebate of $35 for every tonne of recyclables collected as part of our kerbside collection, it is currently estimated that Council will need to make a significant payment of $150 per tonne, in addition to losing the $35 per tonne income.

The State Government has provided $13 million to support the 79 Victorian Council’s with the cost impact until June 30, which is a short term solution.

Maroondah expects to receive a proportion of this funding. However, to June 30 this year, the unexpected financial impact will be in excess of half a million dollars.

Council investigated a range of options to ensure we could continue to collect recyclable material, and ensure the minimum impact on residents.

Unfortunately we don’t have the means to build our own recycling facility in Maroondah.

However the State Government has a sustainability fund established in 2001, which requires all users of landfill, including the 79 Victorian Councils, to pay a compulsory Waste Landfill Levy contribution.

Maroondah is currently paying the State Government approximately $1.3million per year ($63.28 per tonne) in the Waste Landfill Levy. This equates to approximately $30 per household.

The purpose of the State Government’s Waste Landfill Levy is to improve waste management throughout Victoria by providing ongoing funding to support government, industry and the community to reduce waste and to foster environmentally sustainable use of resources.

The fund currently has half a billion dollars, which would go a long way to investing in a solution to our State’s recycling issues.

For a number of years Maroondah City Council and the Local Government sector have been urging the State Government to use this money to work with industry to provide a sustainable solution on behalf of all municipalities and their residents.

What does this mean for Maroondah going forward?

The proposed waste charge increase of $68.50 per property in the 2018/19 draft Budget includes $59 which is the increase associated with the recycling contractual changes. The residual is a result of the contractual increase for rubbish collection (two hard waste collections per household per year, green bin and regular rubbish collection). 

The need to increase the waste charge is really disappointing, but it is unavoidable, with every Council in Victoria facing a similar situation.

Recycling crisis, The Age newspaper

See the following article from The Age on 25 April 2018 on recycling waste stockpiles and recycling concerns:

Recycling crisis,  The Age, 25 April 2018

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