Important information on your recycling service
20 June 2018
Glen Eira City Council residents should prepare for an increase in their waste management charges in the new financial year. While unfortunate, this increase is necessary to ensure Council can maintain quality recycling and waste services, and continue our role in reducing our impact on the environment.
Changes in global recycling markets, triggered by China’s new standards for recyclable material, mean that the cost of processing kerbside recyclables has increased.
We have avoided sending recycling to landfill. However, the changes in global recycling markets have resulted in unforeseen cost increases for Council. Our recycling services remain unchanged and residents are urged to continue recycling and check they are recycling correctly.
Waste management charge increase
Council has worked hard to keep the fee increase to a minimum; however it is unavoidable in the circumstances. The overall cost increase works out to be less than a dollar per week for all households.
When will these charges increase?
New waste charges will apply from 1 July 2018. Waste charges for the 2018/2019 financial year are yet to be adopted by Council.
Recycling myths and facts
Our recycling does matter but we need to drastically improve our recycling behaviours to ensure standards are met, and recyclable materials can be converted into useful products.
|China has banned recyclables.
||China will still accept recyclables if they are separated and have minimal amounts of non-recyclable material (contamination).
|All our recycling goes to China.
||Only a small portion of Victoria’s kerbside recycling is sent to China. The rest is processed in Australia and other countries.
|All recycling goes to landfill.
||Recyclable material is a valuable resource. It’s being transformed into road base, outdoor furniture and recycled office and toilet paper.
|China’s new standard can’t be met.
||Recycling processors in Victoria have already responded by improving the way plastics, paper and cardboard are sorted and further reduce contamination, including investing in new technology to further process these products to ensure it is of a high standard.
|It doesn’t matter if I put the wrong thing in my recycling bin.
||If you put the wrong items in your recycling bin it contaminates the contents. Contamination increases time and costs for processors to sort and remove the non-recyclable waste. This cost is passed onto Council and therefore residents. The best way for us to prevent this as a community is to know what you can and can’t recycle, visit our A-Z of Recycling
What else can residents do?
Avoid single-use plastics. Use reusable drink bottles, shopping bags and coffee cups. Say no to a straw and refuse plastic cutlery.
Know what you can and can’t recycle. If in doubt, find out. Check our webpage — What goes in my bin and our Recycling A-Z.
Buy Australian recycled products such as office paper and toilet paper.
Products and packaging made from recycled materials:
- use fewer natural resources
- reduces the pollution generated and energy used to extract, refine and process raw materials
- decreases the amount of waste and materials sent to landfill
- community and economic benefits through innovation and jobs in the recycling industry
Victoria processes the bulk of its kerbside recyclables, with only a small portion of Victoria’s recycling being sent to China. Victorian processers of recyclables continue to operate.
China has not banned recyclables from Australia. It will still accept recyclables if they are correctly sorted and have minimal contamination.
Recycling processors in Victoria have already responded to China’s new requirements by changing the way they sort plastics, paper and cardboard to further reduce contamination – including investing in new technology to further process material to ensure it is of a high standard.
Recyclable material in Victoria is being transformed into new products such as road base, outdoor furniture and recycled office and toilet paper.
Frequently asked questions
What is the issue?
The ‘National Sword Policy’ implemented by China’s General Administration of Customs on 1 January 2018 aims to improve recovery and reuse of domestic solid waste while restricting the import of contaminated paper, cardboard and plastics. The policy has severely disrupted recycling markets worldwide.
The policy most directly impacts kerbside recycling services, as recyclables from households are usually on-sold in a mixed form. While most of Victoria’s kerbside recyclable material is processed in Australia, a small portion is exported to China for processing meaning the new restrictions are already having impacts on recycling processors.
Recycling processors have been working with councils to reset contractual arrangements to better reflect current market conditions.
To ensure continuity of recycling collection and processing services, ratepayers should prepare for an increase in their waste management charges in the new financial year. While unfortunate, this increase is necessary to ensure a quality service is maintained for residents.
Why do we send material to China?
In recent years, China has purchased recyclable material recovered from across the globe, including Victoria, to meet their manufacturing feedstock needs.
How much do we send to China?
Only a small portion of Victoria’s kerbside recycling is sent to China. The rest is processed in Australia and other countries.
Should I continue to recycle?
Yes. It is more critical than ever for residents to correctly sort their recycling for kerbside collection. We can also try to minimise the amount of waste we produce in the first place – shop smart and avoid unnecessary packaging. Using reusable drink bottles, shopping bags and coffee cups are great ways to start.
We encourage all residents to check our website to find out about what can and cannot be recycled.
Does this rate increase apply to green waste?
No. Food and garden waste recycling rates remain unchanged this financial year.
What is Glen Eira doing to address the industry challenges?
Council is working with our contractors to ensure that recycling services pricing reflect current market conditions. Council has worked hard to minimise the cost to residents, however new pricing arrangements are necessary to ensure that the recycling industry remains sustainable in the long term. Council is supporting the recycling industry to meet China’s new quality standards by making sure that residents know what can and can’t be put in their recycling bin. For further information, visit our website.
What is the Victorian Government doing to address the challenges facing the recycling industry?
The Victorian Government has provided a $13 million package for councils and industry to support the ongoing kerbside collection of household recyclable material. This funding is to assist councils through until 30 June 2018.
The Victorian Government has also established a recycling industry taskforce to develop a strategic plan on the opportunities and measures necessary to transition to a more resilient economy
Councils are required to meet any increase in recycling costs from 1 July 2018 onwards.