Glass key in solving state recycling crisis

Macedon Ranges’ answer to Victoria’s recycling crisis could provide some relief for several councils struggling since the closure of recycling processor SKM.
Council will not only consider adding glass collection to its recycling service, but also the establishment of sorting and processing infrastructure with potential to service beyond the shire’s needs.
The ambitious move addresses the need to remove glass from council’s recycling stream to explore options with a new recycling processor that does not accept the material.
The option is favoured above two other possibilities in a Kerbside Recycling Options Analysis council will consider at its ordinary meeting this Wednesday.
Other options including continuing to divert recycling to landfill and signing a two to four year minimum contract with Visy or Polytrade, both of which attract a significantly higher cost than previous recycling services.
Council officers state the option of adding a glass service and infrastructure provides moderate to high cost stability to council and ratepayers with a cost-effective arrangements similar to, or lower than, previous costs to deliver to SKM.
“This option is supported by a range of solutions to improve diversion rates of recyclables over time and is likely to see costs to ratepayers remain stable or decrease over time,” the report states.
The recycling disaster has seen Macedon Ranges’ co-mingled kerbside recycling go to landfill since stockpiling options were exhausted on August 10.
A household glass collection trial for 800 Lancefield properties is now underway to determine the effectiveness of the removal of glass from recycling. The trial will run until the end of January with preliminary audit results available in November.
Council officers await the green light from councillors to begin a feasibility study into the development of recycling sorting and processing infrastructure within the shire and discussions with outside parties.
The council would begin discussions with other regional councils and the state government to investigate funding and partnership opportunities.
If approved, the council will allocate $505,000 from the 2018/19 budget surplus for stage one of the project to cover temporary higher landfill costs, staff resources and communication material.
It would also include installation of public place glass collection skip bins across the shire.
The council would be expected to receive a Project Progress Report in October that includes: preliminary glass collection trial findings; a feasibility study update; costings for stages two and three of the project including options to fund a fourth-bin system; and an update on funding opportunities available under the government’s rebate to councils affected by the closure of SKM.

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