Top three tips you need to know about recycling in Yarra Ranges
Published on 15 April 2019
Yarra Ranges Council is joining other Councils from around Victoria to call for more investment in recycling from the State and Federal Governments.
The Municipal Association of Victoria, which represents all Victorian Councils, recently launched its Rescue our Recycling campaign, calling for all levels of government to intervene in the ongoing recycling crisis.
Yarra Ranges Mayor, Tony Stevenson, said while recyclable material was collected in the Yarra Ranges by VISY and processed, the recycling industry was in dire need of help.
“Even though we’ve been able to weather some of the recent impacts to the recycling industry – such as one of the state’s major recycling companies briefly suspending operations – there’s no doubt that serious change needs to happen to keep the future of our recycling industry sustainable,” Cr Stevenson said.
“Our recycling provider, VISY, sends a majority of the recyclables collected to Australian markets, so materials can be re-used here, and others to Indonesia to be purchased and used by manufacturers there.
“They’ve also brought ethical processes in place to ensure that any recyclables sent overseas are managed appropriately.
“The simple fact is that the current Australian market can’t sustain the amount of recyclables we’re producing which is why recyclables end up overseas.
Some of the materials produced from recycled products are not classified as food grade, therefore new materials are required for some packaging.
“What’s clear is we need changes from every level of Government and the community to solve this and other problems the industry is facing.”
Cr Stevenson encouraged residents to continue recycling as much as possible, and to look at ways to reduce the amount of rubbish they generate at home.
“It’s clear that one of the easiest ways to reduce the strain on the industry is, wherever possible, look at reducing, reusing and recycling – in that order,” he said.
“That can be reducing the amount of waste we generate by buying less items with lots of packaging – especially soft plastics – looking at reusable items like coffee cups, and recycling as much as we can.”
Cr Stevenson said the Rescue our Recycling campaign is calling for manufacturers to generate less waste and place more emphasis on recyclability, and for Governments to support better ways of sorting and processing, so more material can be recycled.
“We need a container deposit scheme to encourage recycling and reduce litter in Victoria, national targets, timeframes and investment from the Federal Government to encourage manufacturers to create products with minimal or no waste, and conversations at a Council and community level on how we can encourage recycling in the community.
“The goal here would be to create a system where we’re all recycling effectively, processing all of our material onshore, support industry to manufacture recycled products cheaper or same cost as new material so and manufacturers use that material to create their products, rather than buying new material.”
Council uses recycled material for different projects, such as recycled plastics for some bollards and boardwalks, which are made from soft plastics dropped off at supermarkets.
Council’s standard practice for road construction is to use at least 20 per cent recycled asphalt, with a 30 per cent minimum in road patching.
Cr Stevenson said the State Government’s landfill levy, which Council paid for each tonne of material sent to landfill, had generated more than half a billion dollars across the state.
“We appreciate the effort the State Government has gone to, in supporting Councils following last year’s announcement that China would no longer accept recyclable material,” he said.
“However, there’s more than half a billion dollars generated by the landfill levy – a fee which has increased by 637 per cent in the last ten years being held by the government, and that funding should be used to find sustainable solutions to the way recyclable materials are collected and processed in Australia.”