Recyclables to Landfill: Not Just an Environmental Issue, but a Commercial One for Councils

May 8, 2019

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In the past two years, Australia has experienced several incidents in the waste and resource recovery sector, including high-profile fires and stockpiling events. Waste Management Review took a closer look at emergency planning provisions in place to prevent stockpiling following a recent EPA notice in Melbourne.

Notices were issued in February to a major recycling company in Melbourne after allegedly failing to meet the legislative requirements of the Waste Management Policy (Combustible Recyclable and Waste Materials). The Waste Management Policy has been in place since August 2017 following a major fire at the Coolaroo facility.

The recycling company was required to stop accepting recyclable waste materials after EPA officers inspected both the Coolaroo and Laverton North facilities and found large stockpiles of combustible recyclable waste materials taken from kerbside collections.

Over 20 councils across two states were locked out of their materials recovery facilities. As a result, councils including Hume City Council and Port Phillip Council released online public statements explaining that they were forced to send recyclable waste to landfill. The City of Glen Eira was one of the few councils who were able to arrange alternate recycling facilities, but many others were not in a position to do so.

Peter Murphy, Managing Director of Alex Fraser, says sending recyclables to landfill is not just an environmental issue, but a commercial one for councils, who have the power to change things.

“We work with municipalities who play an active role in the supply chain. These councils conduct good due diligence on how their recyclables are collected and processed. Most importantly, they’re active buyers of recycled materials from reputable suppliers, achieving better environmental outcomes and saving ratepayers substantial amounts of money,” he says.

Click here to read the whole article, including further comments from EPA CEO Dr Cathy Wilkinson, Matt Genever, Director of Resource Recovery at Sustainability Victoria, and Mark Smith, Victorian Waste Management Association Executive Officer.