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Kingston response to recycling crisis

20 February 2019

Kingston Council has urgently responded to the EPA’s closure of two SKM recycling sites and is negotiating with an alternative recycling contractor to temporarily accept the area’s recycling material.

Kingston is one of 20 Council’s affected by the closure that has impacted 50% of Melbourne’s recycling.

Mayor Cr Georgina Oxley said that it is extremely disappointing that Kingston, along with many other councils, was forced to temporarily divert recycling to landfill.  

“We’re working with the Victorian Government and other Councils to find urgent solutions, but it’s disappointing that we will temporarily be sending recycling material to landfill,” Cr Oxley said.  “We hope to secure a temporary alternative arrangement while clean-up works at SKM are underway but with only two other providers operating in Victoria they are struggling to cope with a huge increase in material.”

Cr Oxley said the closure of two of SKM’s sites showed how fragile the Victorian recycling industry is, and that urgent investment is needed by the Victorian Government to stabilise this vital service.

In March 2018, Kingston wrote to the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, calling for the Victorian Government outline its response to China’s 2017 Sword Policy and to use funds from the landfill level to urgently invest in recycling services for the state.

 “The Victorian Government has collected half a billion dollars through its landfill levy, which is waiting to be used and now would be a great time to hear what measures the Minister plans to introduce to support better recycling options for Victoria,” said Cr Oxley.

Residents are being urged to continue separating general waste and recycling. “We hope to have our recycling service back up and running very soon, so I would urge the community to keep up their good habits and keep sorting your recycling material as normal.”  

To date, Council has been forced to send recyclable materials to landfill for four collection days, totalling approximately 240 tonnes of material. Due to high landfill charges this has cost Council an additional $20,000.  

“Understandably, Council has received phone calls from concerned residents. We are working to minimise the disruption and have updated our website to reduce any confusion about waste disposal in the community,” Cr Oxley said.  “Some community members have voluntarily held off on putting out their recycling bin for a fortnight to minimise the amount of waste sent to landfill and we appreciate their assistance and would welcome support from others where possible.”  

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