The Victorian Government will provide a $13 million package for councils and industry to support the ongoing kerbside collection of household recyclable waste affected by China’s decision to stop the import of low quality mixed recyclable materials.
The council assistance from the state government will only be provided until 30 June 2018. After that councils will then be required to meet any increase in recycling costs from 1 July 2018 and could lead to a subsequent increase in rates.
To assist the recycling industry reset in the medium to long-term, the government will also establish a recycling industry taskforce to develop a strategic plan for industry transition.
The Victorian Local Governance Association CEO Kathryn Arndt welcomed the $13 million support package on Friday but said a more sustainable solution needed to be found.
“Given the complexity of this issue, a one-off support package is potentially only a stop-gap measure, and, a longer term sustainable solution must be found as a matter of priority,” Ms Arndt said.
“The VLGA encourages the state government to actively consult with the local government sector to explore the issue of waste management more broadly.”
While China has not completely banned the import of all recycled plastic and paper, they now require a cleaner, more processed version of these materials.
Moira Shire General Manager Community Sally Rice is asking residents to continue recycling as normal as collection services will remain unchanged.
“Victorians have a great record when it comes to recycling,” Ms Rice said.
Since 2001 the amount of recyclable household material diverted from landfill has increased by 70 per cent.
Ms Rice said Moira Shire Council was working closely with its contractors and the state government to keep up to date on this matter.
“These current pressures are due to changes to the global recycling market particularly China imposing tighter restrictions on the quality of recyclable materials,” she said.
“These changes are not unique to Victoria and are impacting recycling worldwide.
“This combined with an increased focus on stockpiling practices at recycling processing sites has created unique pressures on the industry.
“We are working with the Victorian Government and industry as a matter of urgency to respond to the issues posed by the China restrictions on recycling and will ensure this matter will not impact our residents.
“Council is reassuring residents that at this stage there is no change to any of our kerbside collection services and we will keep the community updated on the progress of this matter.”