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Recycling changes to have impact

The peak body for rural councils in Victoria has warned there will be significant financial impacts on ratepayers and residents from changes to recycling.

Rural Councils Victoria Chair, Cr Rob Gersch, said a policy change in which China has reviewed the way in which it receives recyclables is affecting services in Victoria.

Cr Gersch said that China had until recently accepted half of the world’s recyclables. A policy change introduced in January now requires recyclables to pass a contamination threshold.

Cr Gersch said that as a result, councils would need to find somewhere else to store their recycling, either by paying more to recycling operators or putting it in landfill.

“These extra costs will ultimately affect ratepayers and residents, possible with a rate increase to cover costs,” he said.

“As the representative body for 38 councils in Victoria, we know many are already struggling financially and neither the councils nor their ratepayers can afford increases in recycling costs.”

Cr Gersch said the changes in China had already affected the three main processing companies in Victoria, which are Visy, SKM and Polytrade.

“Visy has since advised Wheelie Waste, a bin collector that services 11 councils in Victoria, including RCV member councils which used its services, it would stop accepting council recycling and that came into effect earlier this month.

“We understand that several other councils have been told they will lose their services and this means that councils will be forced to look elsewhere for a way in which to disperse recyclables.

“We have worked very hard with our communities to make recycling a priority and now we need to find a solution that doesn’t impact them adversely or undo the good work done to raise the awareness of the importance of recycling.”

Councils across the state spend about $600 million a year on kerbside recycling, about 12 per cent of their total budget.

Cr Gersch said the Municipal Association of Victoria and RCV would continue to work together on highlighting the issue on a state-wide basis.


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