Recycling Update

Published on 07 November 2019

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We are now doing fortnightly updates to the community to let you know where we are at with the recycling situation.


21 November 2019

Here’s an update on what’s been happening in waste and recycling:

Recycling Contract:

Negotiations are in progress to get recyclables out of landfill and back into the recycling stream. We anticipate that we should be up and running again by mid-December, ahead of the busy summer period. We will make an official announcement as soon as we can.

Fourth Bin Trial:

For the past three weeks, 30 households of varying sizes from Moriac to Lorne have had a 120L purple-lidded bin at their house for collecting glass. Next week we’ll collect the bins, get feedback from the participants, and analyse the content and volumes of material in the bins.

If you are one of the participating houses, check your inbox over the coming days for information on when to put the bins on the kerb and how to provide feedback.

Regional Recycling Action Plan

We joined representatives from local government, government agencies, industry, community and technical experts from across the Barwon South West region in a workshop last month to inform a Regional Recycling Action Plan. We discussed challenges and opportunities for developing a sustainable and resilient kerbside recycling program, and we’ll meet again in December to shape and prioritise actions for the region.

Shifting Victoria to a Circular Economy

The Victorian Government is developing a circular economy policy and action plan, to be released late 2019. The policy will lead to new ways for Victorians to reduce waste in all stages of making, using and disposing of the products and infrastructure we rely on every day.

We made a submission to the discussion paper earlier in August this year

Learn more about the circular economy policy and action plan

Victorian Waste Education Conference

We shared some information about the Surf Coast Plastic Wise Policy for Events and Markets at the Victorian Waste Education Conference in October. It was a chance to share some success stories, which attracted interest from a number of other councils and community members as we move into the busy summer season.

The conference was also an opportunity to hear about research and responses to Victoria’s recycling crisis, community initiatives to reduce waste, successful behaviour change campaigns, food waste reduction programs and more.

Infrastructure Victoria report

We have been working on our submission to Infrastructure Victoria’s paper on recycling and resource recovery.

The paper is the result of an initial look into how the industry has been operating, including what’s been working and what hasn’t, and it will advise how infrastructure and government action can create a stronger, sustainable recycling sector in Victoria.

They are still accepting submissions from members of the public. Visit their website to learn more and make a submission before Friday 13 December 2019.


Previous updates

7 November 2019

We are trialling the use of a fourth household kerbside bin this month with a cross-section of 30 full-time residents from Moriac to Lorne and surrounds.

The trial will test the size of the bin and its storage across a broad range of households, and illuminate any challenges and benefits.

We have committed to the introduction of a fourth bin during the first half of 2020 and are determined to provide a more resilient and environmentally responsible collection service for our community.

Why glass?

Keeping glass separate from other recyclables has a huge impact on the quality of other recyclable materials. Glass can break when it is dropped into the kerbside bin, again as recyclables are being compacted in the truck and again during processing at the sorting facility. The broken pieces contaminate paper, cardboard, plastic and metal, making them less valuable and harder to recycle.

How can I provide feedback?

As we continue to plan for changes to the kerbside bin service you will have more opportunities to provide your input.

24 October 2019

We are working with local volunteers to trial a fourth household wheelie bin, for the separation of glass.

Council has committed to changing kerbside waste and recycling services, to create a more resilient and environmentally responsible service. One change in 2020 will be the introduction of a fourth wheelie bin.

This trial is to test the size of the bin, and to gain feedback from local households on how the additional bin works alongside existing waste and recycling bins.

The expression of interest process has now closed; find out more here.

As we continue to plan for future changes we'll be seeking further community input.

22 October 2019

You may have noticed Victoria’s recycling and resource recovery system making headlines over the past few days with the release of a new report by Infrastructure Victoria.

The report is the result of an initial look into how the industry has been operating, including what’s been working and what hasn’t, and it will advise how infrastructure and government action can create a stronger, sustainable recycling sector in Victoria.

We’re pleased to see the report includes a number of initiatives that align with what we have committed to in Surf Coast Shire, including:

  • minimising the amount of waste being generated
  • providing households with additional bins to further sort recyclable materials
  • collecting food and garden waste together to turn into compost products instead of sending it to landfill.

Infrastructure Victoria is now accepting public comment on the report, and feedback will be used to inform their final advice to the state government. Give them your feedback on the report by Friday 13 December at the Infrastructure Victoria website.

11 October 2019

We have been doing lots of work in the past weeks to sort out the recycling situation. We’ve been silent only because we are in contract discussions with providers so can't give too many details, but we also understand the community wants to hear what’s going on. We can say we’ve been working hard to sign contracts to get recycling going back to the recyclers, and that we are also putting systems in place to start the food organics program as soon as possible.

What we've been up to at a state and regional level

  • Council has been advocating to the state government for broader recycling process changes, including investment, product stewardship, and the container deposit scheme
  • We’ve had meetings with the Minister for Environment about major waste reform opportunities (like the circular economy policy).
  • We’ve also been working closely with other G21 Councils to put long term solutions in place for managing the region’s waste.

What we've been up to at a local level

  • We are aware that many people are continuing to take their recycling to the transfer stations, and we applaud your efforts.
  • We are in direct conversation with recycling providers and working on signing contracts that get kerbside recycling back in action. That is our focus right now.
  • We are also appointing a Waste Communications Project Support Officer to help manage the food organics and 4th bin projects
  • We have prepared tender documents for sourcing a supplier to deliver the 4th bins, kitchen caddies and compostable liners (for the food organics collection) to the community. The tender will be advertised Saturday.

We are still on track for starting the food organics kerbside collection and the 4th bin in the first half of next year.

Rest assured we are working very hard on this complex issue. We know it's not just about finding a short term recycling solution; it's a shift in the way in which we as a community manage waste, which deserves careful planning to get the right processes in place.

5 September 2019

We've heard a lot of support from our community on the initiatives that are now in progress. We've also heard you asking "WHEN?!?"

The short answer is we are hoping to have the new food organics collection service and the extra recycling bin in place sometime between summer and Easter.

In the meantime we are actively looking at some options to get our recyclables out of landfill as soon as possible. For now, please keep doing what you're doing and as we get closer to implementing new processes we will be in touch.

Check out this update from our mayor and two of our councillors:

 

28 August 2019

At its August meeting, Council has resolved to introduce new options for recycling and new ways to manage kerbside collections.

These include:

  • shire-wide food organics kerbside collection program
  • the introduction of a fourth bin to allow for better sorting of recyclables at the household level
  • establishment of temporary drop off points for residents who are sorting their own recycling
  • a future trial of a fifth bin

We will now be working with the the community to fully explore the best methods to implement these changes. We will keep you up to date via this page, our social media channels, and other media as we develop a plan (including timelines) for the roll-out.

In the meantime, please remember that food organics can not yet go into our organics bins, and we continue to encourage the community to go the extra step and take their recyclables directly to transfer stations.

Read the agenda of the Council meeting

Read more about the food organics trial

Find a waste transfer station

21 August 2019

SKM Recycling is still not receiving comingled recyclables, but residents can take the following sorted materials to council’s transfer stations in Anglesea, Winchelsea and Lorne:

Paper/cardboard:

Separated paper and cardboard – will be recycled by Cleanaway

  • Accepted materials: office paper, newspaper, cardboard packaging, magazines, advertising material (junk mail), egg cartons, books
  • Materials not accepted: any cardboard container designed to hold liquids – e.g. coffee cups, milk or juice cartons, used paper towel (put these items in the general waste bin)

Metals:

All metals are collected together – will be recycled by Sims Metal

  • Accepted materials: all metal items including food cans, aluminium drink cans, metal pots and pans (no lids), aluminium foil (scrunched together in a ball), metal lids (from bottles and jars)
  • Materials not accepted: non-metal items

Glass bottles and jars:

Glass beverage bottles and food jars only – will be collected by Suez

  • Accepted materials: glass beverage bottles, glass food jars only (no lids)
  • Materials not accepted: lids, window glass, pyrex (glass cooking items), light globes, mirrors, drinking glasses

Plastics:

Because there are so many different types/compositions of plastic, plastic is the hardest material to find alternative recycling options for. No options are currently available in the shire to recycle any plastic containers that would usually go in the recycle bin. You can take them free of charge to the City of Greater Geelong transfer stations in Drysdale and North Geelong.

Note: There is hard plastic collection at Anglesea transfer station only, but this is for larger rigid plastic items. Examples include: wheelie bins, garden pots, milk crates, bread crates, PR poly pipe, bumper bars, truck mud guards, plastic drums, some children’s toys and play equipment. These are recycled by GT Recycling Geelong.

Mixed recyclables:

We don't have the ability to sort mixed materials (that is the missing link with SKM’s materials recovery facility closed), so these are temporarily being sent to landfill.

Domestic quantities of recyclable materials being taken to any of the transfer stations are being charged as normal (up to 0.5 m3 is free of charge). We will make exceptions for residents who present with amounts of separated paper/cardboard, metals and glass in excess of this because they have been storing their material to reduce trips or are bringing material from multiple households.

9 August 2019

We don’t yet understand the full impact of Friday's decision from the Supreme Court, but we are working closely with other G21 councils and the regional waste group to put temporary alternatives in place for locals who would like to recycle as much as they can.

All transfer stations are now accepting glass jars and bottles in addition to paper/cardboard and metal for recycling (different contractors pick up these sorted materials from the transfer stations, so rest assured they do get recycled).

Green/organics waste is unchanged and still being composted so please make sure you are only putting in the right items. See what goes in the organics bins.

2 August 2019

On Friday 2 August the Supreme Court of Victoria declared SKM Recycling to be insolvent when the company was unable to demonstrate a solution to its financial challenges.

Recyclable material collected at the kerbside across the Surf Coast Shire has been going to the Anglesea landfill since 26 July 2019 when SKM ceased its operations. With the Supreme Court decision, this practice will continue until Council can find an alternative solution.

We know you will be discouraged by this news. Be assured we working closely with other G21 Councils and the regional waste group on alternatives. We are encouraged by the businesses in the region that want to help. All possibilities are being explored, we just don’t have an answer yet.

We continue to urge people to reduce waste where possible. Be mindful when you shop and minimise the waste you take home.

You can go the extra yard by separating your recycling items and taking them directly to our transfer stations. Up to half a cubic metre will be accepted free. Separated paper, cardboard and metals can be delivered to Anglesea, Lorne or Winchelsea stations.

Council is exploring temporary alternatives for communities without a transfer station. But for now, if you can’t get to a transfer station, continue to sort recyclables into your kerbside bin as usual and only put it out for collection if it is full. This helps Council to track what is taken to landfill and will help when an alternative solution is found.

29 July 2019

SKM has advised us it has stopped receiving recyclable material until further notice. This is due to ongoing challenges managing its stockpiles in accordance with the EPA requirements.

For the time being our recyclable material will go to the Anglesea landfill site. We share your disappointment that it has come to this but for now Council has not been able to find an alternative solution.

What can you do?

  • Reduce the waste and recyclables you bring home – being mindful when you shop can make a big difference.
  • Continue to separate recyclables into the right kerbside bins in case SKM returns to operation or an alternative is found.
  • Only put out recycling bins for collection if they are full.
  • Work with your family or neighbours and try to take separated paper/cardboard and metals to a nearby Transfer Station. Material at these facilities are independent of SKM and can be recycled.

We've been exploring how we can re-invent our collection and processing services and will provide you with updates and information as soon as we can.

In the meantime, collection of green organics and landfill bins will remain unchanged. Anglesea’s food organics collection is also unaffected.

Read full media release