The collection of household recycling bins in Darebin will continue as normal during this time, however we have no alternative but to divert these collections to landfill.
We are disappointed to be in this situation, but strongly urge residents to continue to put recyclables into your recycling bin and place your bin out for collection on your regular fortnightly collection day.
It would be particularly helpful if the recycling bin was only put out when full, and that recycling material is squashed, squeezed and flattened to fit more in their bin.
Alternatively, if you want to ensure your recyclable material is recycled instead of going to landfill, and can safely store your recycling at home, hold onto it until the EPA gives SKM approval to begin accepting new recyclable waste collected by councils.
Recycling Update: 8 March
We are very thankful for Darebin residents’ patience and feedback, as we continue to work towards finding a solution to the recycling issue. At the moment, the situation remains unchanged.
SKM, Council’s recycling processor, is still working to clear their stockpiles of waste and meet EPA Victoria’s requirements. Unfortunately this means that Darebin’s recycling is still temporarily going to landfill.
As communicated previously, residents are encouraged to purchase items without unnecessary packaging, and keep recycling right. We would like to thank those in our community who are doing everything they can to reduce the amount of recycling they are putting in their kerbside bins. This is has resulted in approximately 150 tonnes of recycling not going to landfill.
Residents can continue to take their clean and sorted households recycling to Darebin Resource Recovery Centre (DRRC). Please ensure you are dropping off recyclables in small, household quantities and that the items are separated into glass, paper and cardboards, plastic and metals. Most of these can be dropped off without a fee, however, if materials are contaminated or mixed in together, a fee may be charged.
The good news is that the current recycling crisis in Victoria is now the subject of a Parliamentary Inquiry, with a report due by 13 August 2019. Council will use this opportunity to continue our advocacy and work with other councils and organisations to prioritise the key issues, impacts and actions that will achieve lasting, beneficial change for the recycling industry.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will there be any changes to the collection of my recycling bin?
No, there will not be any changes to the collection of your household recycling bin. Please continue to place all recyclables into your recycling bin. Recycling bins are collected on a fortnightly basis.
When is my bin collected?
To see when your bin is collected, please view the map here.
What is happening to my recycling?
Council is committed to maintaining services to residents to ensure there is no disruption to waste collection. In the short term, we have made alternative arrangements to send some recyclable materials to landfill. Darebin is committed to reducing waste sent to landfill. But in this instance, our immediate priority is to protect the health and safety of the community. In the long term, we are continuing to advocate on the landfill levy and other relevant waste and recycling issues to reduce waste to landfill, increase recycling and address climate change.
Why can’t Council just collect and hold the recycling until the plant is open again?
No. We explored this option, but we do not have anywhere to store such a large amount of recyclable materials. We would also need approval from the EPA as the piles have the potential to create an unacceptable fire risk.
How long will this issue go on for?
Council is monitoring the situation daily, and is regular contact with other affected councils, the Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group, the Municipal Association of Victoria, the State Government, and SKM. At this stage it remains unclear when SKM will become EPA-compliant again, but we will communicate any developments with our community when we become aware.
I don’t want my recycling going to landfill this week, what can I do?
If you have enough space in your bin, you can hold on to your recycling materials at home until the issue is resolved. We understand many people can’t do this, which is why we will still be collecting and emptying your recycling bins on your normal collection day with the materials going to landfill. Other options are to squash, squeeze, and flatten your recycling so more fits in your bin, and to only put the recycling bin out for collection once it is full.
Why doesn’t Council have a back-up plan for situations such as this?
This issue has affected more than 20 councils around Melbourne. Unfortunately, there are very few locations in Victoria that accept and process recycling materials. Council has investigated all other options available to us, including transport to Geelong and using other providers, but unfortunately all alternative recycling facilities are already at capacity, and there are no options to store materials due to EPA licensing requirements. We are working with the State and Federal Governments to come up with more sustainable long-term solutions for processing recycling locally.
Will this affect waste taken to the Resource Recovery Centre?
There will be no impact on waste taken to the Resource Recovery Centre.
When did the council find out they needed to stop sending recycling to SKM?
Council was first alerted to the EPA’s SKM notice on the night of Thursday, 14 February.
Why did SKM close?
The EPA ordered SKM to stop accepting recyclable waste at its Coolaroo and Laverton sites due to concerns about stockpiles of waste and recyclable materials that could pose a fire risk and a risk to human health.
When will SKM accept recycling again?
SKM has advised Council that it is working to reopen the facility as soon as possible, pending EPA approval. Council will start sending recyclables to the SMK recycling facility as soon as it reopens.
How many people are affected?
SKM receives 50 per cent of Victoria’s recycling and takes materials from many council areas across Melbourne.