WASTE Management Supervisor at the South Gippsland Shire Council, Peter Roberts, said that they don’t want to see all the good work done in educating people about recycling, undone.
“It would be bad environmentally and also very expensive to put recyclable material into landfill,” he explained. “So far we have not needed to do that. We have been working with our suppliers to get us through this crunch time.”
Peter went on to say that it’s a volatile situation that is changing daily. “The Municipal Association of Victoria has been lobbying the State Government and thankfully they are doing something about it in the short to midterm.”
The Andrews Labor Government is stepping in to help councils and industry affected by China’s decision to stop the import of low quality mixed recyclable materials.
The Labor Government will provide a $13 million package for councils and industry to support the ongoing kerbside collection of household recyclable waste.
The assistance will support all councils impacted by China’s decision to restrict the import of recyclable materials – giving them and their contractors time to develop longer-term solutions, including renegotiating contracts.
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.
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.
The Victorian recycling industry is already taking steps to upgrade infrastructure and systems so it can meet those standards, however this process will take time.
The Labor Government is making record investments in programs to develop markets for recovered resources, facilitate private investment in resource recovery infrastructure, and educate households and businesses about how to better manage waste.
Council assistance will be provided until 30 June 2018.
Councils will be required to meet any increase in recycling costs from July 1, 2018 onwards. “While recycling is ultimately a matter for local councils, we’re stepping in to help councils and industry affected by China’s new import rules,” said Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio.
“This is about protecting jobs and ensuring Victorians have confidence to continue recycling.” “We’re already investing at record levels to manage waste in the long term and we will continue to work with industry and local government to help them address these challenges.”