Like many municipalities across Australia, Murrindindi Shire has been affected by China no longer accepting contaminated recyclable materials.
Council is considering the impact of changes in the global market for recycled materials which threatens to radically alter how waste is managed in municipalities, states and countries worldwide.
Murrindindi Shire Infrastructure and Waste Councillor, Eric Lording, said the key market buying these bales of recycled materials in the past was China.
“China says it will no longer accept the contaminated recyclables and will instead be focusing on its home-supply of recycled waste from now on. The result is a major global oversupply of recyclable materials meaning the processing companies that have been accepting our Shire’s recycled waste now have more recyclables than they can sell or reuse,” Cr Lording said.
International buyers of recycled materials have long been purchasing bales of recycled materials from Australia to use in their production of new goods. These bales of recycled material are compiled by processing companies from recycled waste sold or given to them. Unfortunately, much of that recycled material has been heavily contaminated with other materials or waste.
“We’re all busy and distracted, so it can seem like throwing a can here or the dinner scraps there is no big deal, but with almost 14,000 people living in the Shire, those actions really add up.
“This is a concern for us [Murrindindi Shire] because we know how our community loves to recycle.
“We are all responsible for thinking about the consequences of the waste we generate and how to best dispose of that waste – how we act now will determine the future we leave for the next generation.
“So, while it is business as usual with kerbside recycling for now, we do urge everyone to pay special attention to putting the right things in the right bins,” Cr Lording added.
“Rest assured, Council is working hard to find the best way to continue our current recycled waste services. But, to ensure affordability and environmental sustainability into the future, we do need the community’s help to manage how much waste is being produced and how that waste is being disposed of by homes and businesses.
“There are 6390 waste bins and 6549 recycling bins serviced by kerbside collection in Murrindindi Shire. On average, we collect 487 kilograms of waste per service per year, and a further 250 kilograms of recycling. That is more than 6.5 million kilograms of waste and 3.3 million kilograms of recyclables per year.
“Similarly, actions to counter careless waste disposal make an important contribution. A really great example of this is the efforts of several groups on Clean Up Australia Day earlier this year. The Kinglake, Strath Creek, Homewood and Yea River Catchment Landcare Groups filled bags and bins and trailers with litter. Likewise, the Taggerty Progress Association, Friends of Marysville Walks and Yea Angling Club cleaned up roadsides, tourist hotspots and environmentally vulnerable areas,” Cr Lording said.
For information on recycling, waste minimisation and how you can dispose of different types of waste in Murrindindi Shire visit www.murrindindi.vic.gov.au/ourfootprint