Mornington Peninsula Shire supports MAV’s Rescue Our Recycling Plan

Published on 23 July 2019

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Mornington Peninsula Shire Council Mayor Cr David Gill has confirmed Council's support of MAV’s Rescue Our Recycling Action Plan, which sets out key actions that local, State and Federal Government should take to help solve our recycling crisis. 

“Whilst the current uncertainty with the Shire’s recycling provider (SKM Recycling) is being worked through, residents shouldn’t change their great recycling efforts.

“We’re working together with other Metropolitan Councils and the Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group (MWRRG) to develop effective local and state level solutions, but we can’t do that without support from the State Government. By not supporting a sustainable recycling industry in Victoria, the State Government has failed to support our community.

“Councils are leading the way in identifying local solutions and we endorse MAV’s recommendation of a well-designed Container Deposit scheme to increase recycling rates and reduce litter by providing a financial incentive for our community members to put their cans and bottles to better use.

“We reiterate our message that as a community we can’t become complacent, it’s up to everyone to understand the waste you generate; how you can avoid it in the first place and how to reduce your impact on our environment”, concluded Cr Gill.

Download: MAV Media Release: Reiterating the roadmap to rescue our recycling system(PDF, 148KB)

MAV Media Release
Reiterating the roadmap to rescue our recycling system

The latest challenges facing SKM again highlight the ongoing vulnerability of Victoria’s recycling industry, which has faced three crises in the past 18 months.

In March the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) released a Rescue Our Recycling Action Plan identifying solutions and actions needed by all three levels of government. We stand by this plan as a roadmap to stabilise and strengthen Victoria’s waste and resource system.

At the Federal level, we need the introduction of mandatory product stewardship for all products that generate waste – to influence and encourage designers and manufacturers to create products that generate no or minimal waste.

The Commonwealth also has the power to regulate or ban production and importation of hard-to-recycle materials, standardise package labelling and adopt a certification system for use of recycled content.

At the State level, we acknowledge the work the Victorian Government is leading to identify longer-term solutions and welcome the release of a circular economy issues paper, as well as the series of State reviews underway.

Victoria has three large recycling providers. Consideration must also be given as to how the State can improve transparency and accountability of industry, particularly through greater oversight and regulation.

The MAV Action Plan also commits councils to support market development by purchasing recycled content and investigating collaborative procurement opportunities with the Victorian Government for kerbside recycling.

If well-managed, collaborative procurement has the potential to facilitate new private investment in our recycling system, but this fix is at least 18 months away and only time will tell if this outcome is realised.

Cr Coral Ross, MAV President said Victoria’s recycling system had limited spare capacity to support the system in case of a single point of failure.

"The current situation has little to do with council contracts and a lot to do with an industry player not meeting its obligations, and not operating with accountability and transparency.

"The failure of SKM to manage its business interests and communicate with its customers (including councils) is disappointing and points to the need for greater oversight and regulation of the industry.

"In the immediate short-term, we need the State to work with industry to bolster sorting capacity at various facilities so that we don’t lurch from one crisis to the next.

"Councils also seek access to data on Victoria’s recycling facilities, such as their processing and storage capacity, and their markets for recycled materials to help to inform contract decision-making.

"Collection of this data requires stronger independent oversight of the recycling industry – so they operate with more transparency and accountability – rather than relying on the word of individual operators.

"Our focus remains on building partnerships between all levels of government, industry, businesses and the community to deliver solutions and actions that strengthen our recycling system.

"We all have a role to play. First and foremost we must avoid generating waste. Then we need to reduce, reuse and recycle – in that order – rather than just focus on recycling," she said.