Alternative recycling solutions being considered by council

Friday, 26 July 2019

The following list of options is being considered by the City of Greater Geelong as a local response to the current national recycling crisis.

While these options may be implemented with some urgency in response to our recycling contractor SKM Services ceasing to accept materials, we may consider continuing them as a long term solution.

It is clear that regardless of whether or not our existing recycling process can resume, significant  changes to the system are essential to ensure the sustainability of recycling in Australia.

Our current recycling system is facing significant issues, including the high volumes of mixed materials that need to be sorted.

The value and demand for co-mingled recyclable materials is very low in comparison to sorted steel, aluminium, paper, cardboard, and plastic.

The below alternatives look at ways we can separate materials at a community level.

Ultimately, we need investment from all levels of government to solve this crisis.


Option 1: Alternative Recycling Facilities

Together with other councils, major recycling companies, and waste and resource recovery groups, we are assessing the capacity of non SKM recycling facilities to take any of our current recyclable materials.

Limitations to this option include:

  • Most processors are already at capacity
  • Significant cost increase for transport to destinations outside of our region, plus expected fee increases
  • Significant environmental cost once transport emissions and other factors are considered


Option 2: Recycling Hubs

Placement of Community Recycling Hubs at locations across the municipality where residents can drop off their separated recyclable materials (glass, paper/cardboard, metals, plastics).

This would enable collection of sorted product, which can be sold.

This service is already available at our Resource Recovery Centres in Drysdale and North Geelong.

The viability of this will be impacted by costs such as transport, volume collected and the market price for separated materials.


Option 3: At Call Service

Our at-call Hard Waste collection service has capacity to make up to 500 collections per week. This could be utilised for at-call recycling collection for those unable to reach recycling hubs.

Alternatively it could be used for specific separated materials, such as metals.

This would use existing services already in place, including call centre, booking system and trucks.


Option 4: Paper/cardboard bin

The existing recycling (yellow lid) bin could be converted to paper and cardboard collection only.

Paper and cardboard makes up about 40% of recyclables collected. This may be a useful option in coordination with recycling hubs for other materials such as glass, which makes up 30% of recyclables.

The bins would be picked up from kerbside as normal.

We would need strong community understanding and commitment for this to work, as contamination could make the materials unsellable (and therefore sent to landfill).


Subject to further evaluation, implementation of options 1- 4 could keep up to 75% of recyclables out of landfill.

Page last updated: Friday, 26 July 2019