Household recycling update
Published on 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.
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
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.