The Victorian Government will begin rolling out a four-bin kerbside recycling scheme across the state next year and introduce a container deposit scheme by 2023 as part of a $129 million overhaul of Victoria’s recycling industry.
- The plan is expected to reduce waste going to landfill by 80 per cent in ten years
- Details of the container deposit scheme are yet to be determined
- Forty local government areas will add a recycling bin for glass only next year with others to make the addition as they sign new kerbside recycling collection contracts
Premier Daniel Andrews said the aim of the overhaul was to reduce the total waste from residents and industry going to landfill by 80 per cent by 2030.
However, Mr Andrews said the details of the container deposit scheme would be finalised following further consultation with industry and local government.
Every other state and territory in Australia has already introduced or announced such a scheme.
Mr Andrews and Minister for Environment Lily D’Ambrosio announced the Recycling Victoria package at Spotswood, where Hobsons Bay City Council has already put a four-bin system in place.
The addition of a bin specifically for glass is expected to reduce contamination and improve the quality and reliability for end users of recycled materials.
Mr Andrews said the extra bins would be paid for as part of the $129 million funding package through the Sustainability Fund.
He said the new bins would start to be introduced in 2021 as the kerbside collection contracts for about 40 local governments come to an end.
The remainder of councils will add glass bins as they renew their new kerbside recycling collection contracts.
Waste collection will also become classified as an “essential service”, with a specific act introduced to Parliament and a new statewide waste authority.
Mr Andrews declined to answer questions on measures to improve the disposal and reuse of recycled materials, saying more announcements would be made later in the week.
Inquiry triggered by industry crisis
A parliamentary inquiry last year into recycling and waste management found a container deposit scheme could reduce litter and boost the Victorian Government’s budget by about half a billion dollars over 10 years.
The inquiry was triggered by an industry crisis that led to some recyclers going bankrupt and household recycling in some areas ending up in landfill.
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It made 46 recommendations, including creating a container deposit scheme, providing an extra kerbside bin to households and developing the state’s waste-to-energy technologies.
In January 2018, China’s ban on the importation of 24 types of recyclable materials sent Australia’s waste management industry, which indirectly employs around 50,000 people, into a tailspin.
Victoria’s recycling system has been plunged further into chaos after the state’s largest kerbside recycling company was declared insolvent in the Supreme Court.
Victoria last to get on board
In 1977, South Australia set up the first container deposit scheme in Australia, followed by the Northern Territory in 2012, NSW in 2017 and the ACT and Queensland in 2018.
Both Western Australia and Tasmania have also now committed to schemes, leaving Victoria the last state to announce plans to introduce one.
The Victorian Opposition committed earlier this month to introducing a container deposit scheme if it won the next state election to reduce litter and help clubs and groups fundraise.
Victorian Greens MP Ellen Sandell said the Greens had been campaigning on the issue for more than a decade and welcomed the State Government’s decision.
However, she said the scheme should be established as soon as possible.