Normal recycling resumes

Published on 10 October 2019

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In positive news for Nillumbik, Cleanaway Pty Ltd announced that they have successfully acquired the former SKM recycling facility assets. 

Cleanaway is an experienced and long-established Australian waste management company. 

Nillumbik Council Mayor Karen Egan said Cleanaway has made a commitment to ensuring that Nillumbik’s recycling will continue to be processed until a new contract arrangement is in place. 

Cr Egan said Cleanaway also committed to being transparent about the materials they accept, how these materials are processed and where they end up. 

“Cleanaway have stated they are working with the Victorian Government on “value adding” as part of the materials recovery process,” Cr Egan said. 

“This means implementing new technology to develop products from recycled waste that can be used by industry locally.” 

On Monday, Council recommenced delivering recycling to an SKM recycling facility in Laverton North for processing. 

In the biggest change, bundled plastic bags will no longer be accepted for recycling. Instead, residents should take soft plastics to participating Coles or Woolworths stores to be recycled through the REDcycle program. 

Cr Egan said it was residents’ responsibility to ensure that only those materials that can be recycled go into their yellow bins. 

“We will continue to keep residents updated about any changes to what can be accepted in our recycling bins,” Cr Egan said. 

For more on recycling and reducing waste go to www.nillumbik.vic.gov.au/recycling. For information about REDcycle go to www.redcycle.net.au

 

6 October 2019

Nillumbik Council is pleased to announce that normal recycling returns to the Shire on Monday, 7 October. 

The news comes as Council has reached a short-term agreement with SKM receivers KordaMentha to deliver our recyclable materials to its Laverton North facility for processing. 

Once the sale of the SKM facilities is completed, we will work with the new owner to extend the current arrangement until a new contract is in place. 

Residents are advised to put their recycling bins out as normal for collection from tomorrow, Monday, 7 October. 

Nillumbik Mayor Karen Egan welcomed the news that recyclables would no longer be sent to landfill. 

“This is exciting progress for our residents, who are enthusiastic recyclers and have been waiting patiently for proper services to resume,” she said. 

Cr Egan urged residents to make sure only recyclable materials were put in their recycle bin. 

“The new arrangement is a lot stricter. If our recycling is more than 10 per cent contaminated, it may be rejected and sent to landfill,” Cr Egan said. 

 “It’s up to residents to do the right thing.” 

In a major change, bundled plastic bags will no longer be accepted for recycling. Instead, residents should take plastic bags to participating Coles or Woolworths to be recycled through the REDcycle program. 

Unfortunately Council does not have capacity to do additional collections for those who have been saving their recycling material. People with extra recycling material can take it to the Recycling and Recovery Centre at 290 Yan Yean Rd, Plenty. 

Nillumbik Shire was one of 33 councils directly affected by the closure of SKM. Council had been working with the Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group to find a solution to the crisis. 

For more information on recycling in Nillumbik including an A-Z guide to what can be recycled, go to our website at www.nillumbik.vic.gov.au/recycling

 

26 September 2019 

In good news for Nillumbik, recycling is expected to resume shortly as contractor SKM starts to reopen processing facilities. 

Nillumbik usually delivers its recyclable materials to an SKM facility in Coolaroo, which is expected to be operational within weeks. 

But Council is trying to negotiate to deliver to another facility until Coolaroo reopens. 

SKM’s Laverton North facility opened on Monday, 23 September and is now accepting recyclable materials from councils including Moonee Valley, Melbourne and Port Phillip. These councils formerly delivered to the Laverton facility. 

Council chief executive officer Carl Cowie said Coolaroo was expected to be operational in coming weeks as a condition of a $10 million State Government loan to SKM receivers KordaMentha. 

“Nillumbik is attempting to negotiate with KordaMentha to accept Nillumbik’s material at the Laverton site until the Coolaroo site opens,” Mr Cowie said. 

“We will continue to keep residents updated on the situation as more news becomes available.” 

In the meantime, Nillumbik’s recycling is unfortunately still going to landfill with alternative recycling processors at capacity. 

Nillumbik Mayor Karen Egan thanked residents for their patience as Council worked to find a way through what is a national crisis. 

“Nillumbik residents are among the best recyclers in Victoria and I encourage you to continue your efforts through our kerbside collection,” Cr Egan said. 

Council’s Recycling and Recovery Centre at 290 Yan Yean Rd, Plenty, is also open to the public to drop off paper, cardboard and metals for recycling. 

The cardboard and paper is collected by Veolia and taken to the VISY paper plant in Coolaroo, where it is made into new recycled packaging. The metals are taken to Ecocycle where they are sorted and then recycled locally and overseas.

 

30 August 2019

The Victorian Government has announced that SKM’s Laverton facility is expected to re-commence processing recycling within five weeks, however, timeframes are still unknown for the Coolaroo, Geelong and Hallam facilities.

As one of 33 councils directly impacted by SKM’s closure, we are following up to find out when we can expect to return to recycling. We normally deliver to Coolaroo and sometimes Laverton, and will push to get the earliest possible return date.

In the meantime, our only viable option is regrettably still landfill. A reminder that residents may choose to:

  • separate paper and cardboard, and metals (cans, foil, pots, pans) and recycle them free of charge at Council’s Recycling & Recovery Centre
  • recycle soft plastics through REDcycle collection points at Coles/Woolworths

As well as continuing to work with the Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group (MWRRG) on alternatives, we are applying for some of the $6.6 million recycling rebate on offer from the Victorian Government to help cover the cost of the landfill levy. We are also exploring options to accept a broader range of separated materials such as glass and plastics at our Recycling & Recovery Centre.

Last week, Cleanaway acquired SKM’s debt and appointed receivers for the entire SKM group excluding its Glass Recovery Services business. The SKM group includes SKM Industries Pty Ltd – the company we have a contract with through MWRRG. The Supreme Court of Victoria had previously appointed liquidators to another company in the SKM group, SKM Corporate Pty Ltd, on 2 August.

Earlier this week, the Victorian Government announced a $10 million loan to SKM’s receivers KordaMentha to get the recycling facilities back up and running. The loan will help clear waste stockpiles and fund essential maintenance work, to ensure the sites meet strict environmental and safety standards.

We will let you know when we find out more.

 

13 August 2019

Council is working with the State Government’s Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group (MWRRG) to find an alternative for the Shire’s recycling. Council has a contract with SKM through the MWRRG. SKM’s closure affects several councils and about half of Victoria’s recycling.

The broader, long-term issue requires a response from all levels of government. At this stage SKM, while temporarily closed, has indicated that it is working to recommence receiving recycling.

Council will continue to collect recycling bins as normal and encourages residents to continue their recycling efforts until this is resolved, it’s important we keep working together to meet the current challenges.

Unfortunately we expect this week’s recycling will be sent to landfill.

The capacity of alternative facilities in the north of Melbourne is limited and the MWRRG is working to find alternative arrangements.

FAQs

Why can’t Council follow Boroondara’s lead and use Visy or another provider for its new recycle facility?

Nillumbik Shire Council is one of five Councils that has a contract with SKM Industries Pty Ltd through the Metropolitan Waste Resource Recovery Group (MWRRG). A separate company, SKM Corporate Pty Ltd, was recently placed into liquidation. SKM Recycling have advised that SKM Industries Pty Ltd is still able to trade.  

Notwithstanding current contractual arrangements, the biggest hurdle for alternatives to processing recyclables appears to be the lack of excess capacity in the northern region to be able to process the kerbside recycle materials.  Other Councils appear to be taking advantage of capacity in other regions. The additional transport costs associated with processing outside the northern region is currently being quantified to help assess the value of any alternative arrangements.

Not a single Councillor, staff member or community member wants to put recycling to landfill, it goes against everything we stand for, so you can be assured we are doing everything we can to get through this.

What does council recommend for residents and how can residents help?

Council’s Recycling and Recovery Centre at 290 Yan Yean Road Plenty accepts recycling paper and cardboard, metals (cans, aluminium foil, pots and pans) and e-waste free of charge.

These source-separated materials are sent to dedicated recycling facilities not affected by the SKM closure.

Residents can also help by avoiding and reducing the amount of waste generated in the first place, only placing the recycling bin out for collection once it’s full and taking soft plastics to Coles/Woolworths for recycling through REDcycle.

What are Council’s next steps?

In the immediate term, Council has no choice but to send kerbside recyclables to the landfill.

In order to understand and manage the contract risk, Council is currently having daily interactions with MWRRG given the situation with SKM is fluid.

In the medium term, the best outcome is that the recycling infrastructure currently owned and operated by SKM continues to operate to process municipal kerbside recycling, whether the operator is SKM or another party. This infrastructure is capable of sorting to the level required by markets both locally and overseas.

In the longer term, Nillumbik is participating in process initiated by MWRRG to explore a collaborative contract for recycling.

 

26 July 2019

Council received notification from SKM Recycling last night that it would temporarily stop receiving recyclable materials at all its facilities until further notice.

The latest update could impact a number of councils across Melbourne and regional Victoria, including Nillumbik.

Council will collect recycling bins as normal next week and encourages residents to continue their recycling efforts.

However, as SKM’s facilities are temporarily closed, regrettably, next week’s recycling may go to landfill.

Council is working closely with the Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group (MWRRG) to look for alternatives and contingency arrangements, such as sending recycling to another recycling processor.

Council will continue to keep the community informed of the situation.

Will there be any changes to the collection of my bin?

No, there will not be any changes to the collection of your household recycling bin. All recycling is collected every fortnight.

Is there anything I can do to avoid my recycling going to landfill?

Reduce your waste: Consider how you can minimise waste – be mindful about what you buy and whether you’re purchasing unnecessary packaging.

Only put your bin out once it’s full: Squash, squeeze, and flatten your recycling so more fits in your bin, and only put the recycling bin out for collection once it is full.

Recycle the following at Council’s Recycling and Recovery Centre, 290 Yan Yean Road Plenty:

  • Paper and cardboard
  • Metals – cans, aluminium foil, pots and pans
  • E-waste

Bundle your soft plastics and dispose of them through REDcycle at participating supermarkets

What will happen if SKM remains closed?

The SKM temporary closure affects councils across Victoria, it is estimated that SKM processes about 50 per cent of Victoria’s recycling. In the short term we are working to locate an alternative processor with capacity to accept Nillumbik’s material. In the interim, unfortunately our recycling will be sent to landfill.

The broader issue requires a response from all levels of government and a stronger commitment to ensuring the continued operation of existing infrastructure to recover recyclable materials. This includes development of and investment in markets for recovered materials. We are working with the Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group and the Victorian Government to come up with more sustainable long-term solutions for processing recycling locally.

 

12 March 2019

Fantastic news – we will recommence delivery of household recycling to recycling processor SKM tomorrow, Wednesday 13 March.

As a consequence of the temporary closure of SKM’s facilities, we have regrettably delivered seven days’ worth of recycling to landfill.

Please continue to recycle as normal. Nillumbik residents are Victoria’s best recyclers achieving at least 66 per cent diversion from landfill, compared to the state average of 44 per cent. Find out what goes in each bin and visit our A-Z recycling guide for how to recycle or dispose of just about anything.

It’s just as important to look for ways to avoid waste altogether. Avoid unnecessary packaging and single-use plastics. Reusable water bottles, coffee cups, packaging and shopping/produce bags are a great start.

Thank you for your patience and understanding during this period. 

 

10 March 2019 

The EPA has indicated that recycling processor SKM has made significant progress towards compliance.

At this stage SKM remains closed, however, this may change in the next couple of days. We will update you as soon as we know more.

We will collect bins as usual, including on the public holiday on Monday, and we expect recycling to return to normal at some stage during the week.

Thank you for your patience and understanding during this period, and for working with us to reduce the amount of waste in Nillumbik.

 

23 February 2019 

As you'd be aware, the EPA has ordered recycling processor SKM to stop receiving material at its Coolaroo, Laverton and Geelong facilities until stockpiling issues are resolved. This affects many councils across Melbourne and regional Victoria, including Nillumbik.

We are committed to ensuring that bins are collected as normal, however, as SKM’s facilities remain closed, regrettably this coming week’s recycling will go to landfill. We are continuing to work with the Victorian Government to explore other options, and will keep you informed.

Please continue to recycle as well as look for ways to avoid waste altogether – it’s important we keep working together to meet the current challenges. Avoid unnecessary packaging and single-use plastics. Reusable water bottles, coffee cups, packaging and shopping/produce bags are a great start. Save space in your bin by folding boxes and crushing cans and plastic bottles. Where practical, residents may wish to hold back their recycling bin in the hope that the issues are resolved by next fortnight’s collection.