Published: Wednesday, October 30, 2019
Recycling update - October 2019
We are working with other councils and the state and federal governments on finding a sustainable long-term option for recycling.
While we cannot go into detail at this stage, we are currently exploring a variety of options and hope to have a solution very soon. We will let our residents know the way forward as soon as we are able to.
In the meantime, we continue to collect recycling from the kerbside and have provided a variety of recycling skips at the Wollert Landfill for those who want to take extra steps to sort and deliver their own recycling.
See the frequently asked questions below for more information.
> What is happening to my recycling?
The Supreme Court of Victoria has declared Council’s recycling contractor SKM Recycling to be insolvent and placed into receivership. This means kerbside recyclable material collected will continue to be sent to Wollert landfill until we can find an alternate solution.
SKM Services processed the recycling collected from 32 Council areas, including the City of Whittlesea. This was about 50% of Victoria’s total recycling.
There are very few recycling processors in Victoria so this has a significant impact and leaves many Councils without an alternative recycling processor.
> Will my recycling bin still be collected?
Yes. We will be collecting recycling bins as normal but instead of the materials going to SKM, we have no choice but to divert them to the Wollert landfill until an alternative is found.
> Is there anywhere I can take recycling myself?
Residents can go the extra step and separate their recyclables into different materials types to drop off at the following locations:
- Take cardboard and flattened boxes to Hanson’s Wollert Landfill, 55 Bridge Inn Road, Wollert or Visy Recycling, 13 Reo Crescent, Campbellfield
- Paper/catalogues to Hanson's Wollert Landfill or Visy Recycling, 13 Reo Crescent, Campbellfield. Shredded paper can be dropped off at pet shops. Paper can be added to your compost bin
- Take soft plastic (any plastic that scrunches) to Redcycle stations at Coles or Woolworths stores
- Take aluminium cans to Wollert landfill or Wollert CFA, Epping Road, Wollert. Foil, cans and tins can be dropped off at the skips at Wollert landfill or SRS Recycling in Thomastown.
- Take plastic bottle lids to the Thomastown Envision site, 26 Apex Court, Thomastown as part of the Lids 4 Kids project. At the Envision facility the lids are cleaned, sorted and processed. The plastic can be used in 3D printing to make prosthetics and sent to children in need in developing countries.
> Will I get a refund for my recycling charge?
No. The cost of collecting and transporting your rubbish and recycling each week continues to remain the same; the destination of the recycling is the only change.
> Why can’t the recycling just go somewhere else?
Council collects 65 tonnes of recycling from households daily - which equates to 12 truckloads of compacted recycling each day. There are a very limited number of facilities that process recycling. We have thoroughly investigated all options and for a range of reasons such as permit conditions, capacity and fire risk, other companies are not able to take on the extra materials.
> Can’t Council just collect and hold the recycling until a solution is found?
No. We do not know how long we will be without a recycling processor for. The EPA’s licensing rules at our local landfill do not allow us to stockpile materials. We do not have anywhere else to store such a large quantity of recyclable materials; any piles would create an unacceptable fire risk.
> What is Council doing to resolve this situation?
We are exploring all options for our own recycling as well as working with other Councils and the State and Federal Governments for long-term sustainable options for Victoria.
The current situation is unacceptable and we are disappointed there are not more businesses who can handle the volume of recycling councils produce.
We have explored and continue to explore a number of options, unfortunately we just don't have an answer yet.
> Why doesn’t Council have a back-up plan for situations such as this?
There are very few locations in Victoria that accept and process recycling materials, and there is very limited spare capacity at the remaining recycling processing facilities. We know recycling is an important issue to our community. All councils in Victoria are in the same situation so we are working with the State and Federal Governments to come up with more sustainable long-term solutions for processing recycling locally.
> Why have you continued to use SKM after it's temporary closure in February?
The City of Whittlesea currently has a contract with SKM. We have no alternate options available for another facility to accept and process the large volumes of comingled recyclables collected from our residents.
Prior to signing the contract with SKM, Council exercised its due diligence and had confidence in SKM being Council’s recycling receiver and processor for the duration of the contract.
> Can I put rubbish in my recycling bin if it’s going to landfill anyway?
We encourage you to continue separating your rubbish and recycling as normal to be ready if an alternative is found. We know you work hard to ensure you are recycling right and we would encourage you to continue doing so for the long-term benefit of our environment.
> I don’t want my recycling going to landfill, what can I do?
The best way is to reduce the amount of waste you use. There are plenty of small changes you can make including:
- Only buying what you need and will use
- Putting a 'No Junk Mail' sticker on your letterbox
- Choosing to buy items with the least amount of packaging or purchase it in your own container/bag.
- Taking your own reusable items shopping including bags, produce bags and food containers
- Buying loose fruit and vegetables using reusable produce bags
- Buying bread from a bakery with your own bag
- Buying milk using your own reusable glass bottles from locations including; That’s Amore, 66 Latitude Boulevard, Thomastown.
- Buying takeaway food in your own clean reusable food container
- Buying toilet paper, paper towel and tissues made from 100% recycled paper
- Avoiding disposable products at home
- Returning soft plastic packaging to Coles or Woolworths
- Avoiding straws by simply drinking straight from the cup or bottle
- Avoiding disposable coffee cups.
- Switching to bamboo toothbrushes