The Australian recycling system is in crisis and needs a major overhaul.
For many years, much of Victoria’s recycling material, including glass, has been collected, bailed up and shipped overseas for processing. This is no longer an option.
Australia is now competing with other countries to access smaller and shrinking markets for our recyclables – so we are looking for local markets and local solutions.
The urgency to find a sustainable new recycling approach intensified after the recent collapse of SKM, which collected recyclables for more than 30 Victorian councils, including the City of Ballarat.
Council has now entered into a new contract with Victorian company Australian Paper Recovery which has local markets for the processing, reuse and value-adding of paper, cardboard, good quality plastics and cans.
However, Australian Paper Recovery does not have a market for glass, nor can its equipment process glass.
Glass also often breaks in our recycling bins and contaminates the entire contents which means the whole load needs to be sent to landfill as broken glass isn’t recyclable.
Therefore, recycling in Ballarat is changing.
From 30 September you will no longer be able to put glass in your yellow recycling bin.
Instead, you will be able to take your glass to one of several free glass drop-off sites around the municipality, either using your own container or one provided by Council.
Alternatively, you can put your glass in the normal garbage bin, which will be collected and sent to landfill.
Every resident in the City of Ballarat will be advised of this change via a letter that will be appearing shortly in their mailboxes.
City of Ballarat Mayor Cr Samantha McIntosh said she knows this option may concern many committed recyclers.
“And it concerns us too but we have looked at all possibilities, and at this stage this option is the best and most cost-effective,” Cr McIntosh said.
“Our approach also means Council will be able to ensure our recycling is processed locally and genuinely reused, at no additional cost to you.
“As a community, and as individuals, we have to take a new approach to recycling. We need to change our recycling habits to make the system work better.”
So remember, from 30 September:
- No glass will be allowed in the yellow recycling bin
- An alternate glass deposit container will be available on request from Council or the glass can be put in the normal garbage
- You can continue to recycle paper, cardboard, cans
- Clean, plastic containers from your kitchen, laundry and bathroom are the only plastics we can accept in the yellow recycling bin.
And always remember, if in doubt take it out!