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
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
Ultimately, we need investment
from all levels of government to solve this crisis.
Option 1: Alternative Recycling Facilities
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.
this option include:
- Most processors are
already at capacity
- Significant cost
increase for transport to destinations outside of our region, plus expected fee
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
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.