City combats waste crisis with fast-track strategy

Monday, 05 August, 2019

City combats waste crisis with fast-track strategy

The City of Melbourne will fast-track elements of its Waste and Resource Recovery Strategy and bring forward investment in infrastructure and new technologies to minimise waste and address the Victorian recycling crisis.

Following SKM Recycling’s decision to no longer accept Melbourne’s recycling, the city has been forced to send 45 tonnes of recycling to landfill each day. Annually, more than 51,000 tonnes of waste including recycling is collected from City of Melbourne household and public street litter bins.

As part of its response, the City of Melbourne and its subsidiary, Citywide, will run an independent feasibility study into establishing a new large-scale recycling centre, known as a materials recovery facility, in Greater Melbourne.

“As a matter of urgency, our waste collection business Citywide will work with independent experts to look at the best way to create a specialised recycling facility in Victoria that will be stable and sustainable,” Lord Mayor Sally Capp said.

“The study will consider the potential size and location for a new facility as well as the number of municipalities it could service. It would also consider the level of recycled material required for it to be viable, and potential markets for recycled materials.”

Capp said the City of Melbourne would investigate ways to reduce contamination in recycled products throughout the municipality.

“We want to stop recyclables going to landfill as soon as possible and deliver long-term improvements for our residents and businesses,” Capp said.

“We are going to increase the number of shared waste hubs for businesses in the central city and work with businesses to reduce the amount of waste they produce. We know that what works in our laneways will be different to what’s required for large apartment blocks and other residential areas.

“Our team is examining international best practices and will run an expression of interest process looking for technologies that could be used in Melbourne’s inner city laneways. This could include using everything from mini-compactor bins, to specialised vehicles and collection of source-separated materials such as glass, organics, paper and cardboard.

“Ultimately, we need to work towards the model used by many European countries where recycling streams are collected and processed separately. This is not a process that can be tackled by individual municipalities so we will be working with other councils, the Victorian Government and the community to achieve long-term change.”

City of Melbourne’s Environment Portfolio Chair Cathy Oke said local residents and businesses also needed to play their part to reduce contamination of the waste stream.

“Rather than send our recycling overseas, we will examine the feasibility and cost of preparing materials for manufacturing use here in Victoria,” Oke said.

“We don’t want people to lose their good recycling habits. We’re hopeful of delivering short- and long-term solutions to this crisis.

“We need to provide a cleaner product for our recycling industry to return to a more sustainable and stable footing. That means reducing contamination from items like greasy pizza boxes, which don’t belong in the recycling. Ultimately, we need to encourage everyone to reduce the amount of waste they’re producing in the first instance.”

For more information, visit waste and recycling.

Image credit: © Calaitzis

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