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Reducing recyclables to rubbish

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Paper and cardboard can still be recycled at Moorabool Shire Council transfer stations in Bacchus Marsh, Ballan and Mt Egerton. Photo – sustainability.vic.gov.au

By Meg Kennedy

Recyclables and rubbish in Moorabool are now headed to the same spot: landfill.
Moorabool Shire Council announced on Tuesday, 13 August via its website and social media platforms that it “has had to make the difficult decision to send recyclables to landfill,” following the recent closure of recycling contractor SKM.
The post detailed that Moorabool Shire’s short-term solution, Ballarat-based processor Clarke’s Recycling, has now reached capacity – forcing Council to send recyclables into landfill as an “interim measure”, whilst a “longer-term sustainable solution” is sought.
Moorabool Shire is now one of 15 other councils across the state who have made the decision.
The Victorian Government announced on the same day that a $6.6 million package – estimated at $200,000 per council – will be distributed to the affected councils over the next four months, “providing a rebate that will cover the additional costs they are incurring to deal with their recyclable waste.”
According to a media release from the State Government, the relief package will be conditional, including evidence of councils having sought alternative options to landfill to ensure as much material as possible is recycled; full transparency regarding future waste contracts; providing information on current contractual rates and conditions; and details on where the waste is diverted to, such as landfill, storage or a recycling destination.
Moorabool Shire Council Community Assets and Infrastructure General Manager Phil Jeffrey told the Moorabool News that “all 33 Councils with direct contracts with SKM will be eligible to apply for State Government announced funding,” although little is known about how long the funding will last.
Mr Jeffrey also confirmed that “all kerbside recycling collections will continue to be collected by Council’s collection contractor,” with no changes to the current collection schedule, and putrescible waste (organic and food waste) will continue to be deposited at Melbourne Regional Landfill.
Although not an ideal solution, Council encouraged residents to “reduce waste of all kinds” whilst other avenues are sought by only shopping for necessary items, and opting for goods with less packaging.
“Whilst the current recycling problem has been described as a crisis in the media, it is also an opportunity for us all to review our consumption habits, to put pressure on manufacturers to reduce excessive packaging and to choose more sustainable options,” Council’s statement read.
SKM, one of Victoria’s largest recycling contractors, announced back in July that it would be shutting it doors, creating chaos for councils around the state and a further blow to Victoria’s recycling crisis.