Cost buffer for Macedon Ranges recycling

The state government is helping Macedon Ranges council to pay the increased cost of continuing its recycling service while the council finds a long-term solution.

The Victorian government will support councils and the industry until June 30 in continuing kerbside collection of household recyclables and waste through a $13 million package announced last month.

Macedon Ranges mayor Jennifer Anderson said the funding would ease the burden of the unbudgeted extra recycling cost that has arisen since China restricted its intake of recyclables.

“This gives us time to work with our contractor to develop a longer-term solution,” she said.

“Without the government’s assistance, we would have been forced to use thousands of dollars of ratepayers’ money every week just to keep the kerbside recycling collection going.”

Macedon Ranges council is one of several Victorian councils paying increased costs to keep using recycling giant Visy to dispose of recyclables since China’s new National Sword Policy significantly disrupted recycling markets in January.

Visy’s increased expenses in meeting China’s new standards has flowed on to the councils and organisations using its service.

Macedon Ranges council said it was working with the industry and the Loddon Mallee Waste and Resource Recovery Group to find a long-term solution.

Assets and operations director Dale Thornton said the Macedon Ranges was “well positioned” to deal with the situation.

He said the council potentially had the capacity to clean recycled material itself, which it was investigating.

Mr Thornton has advised residents to keep recycling and to “keep it clean” – meaning not mixing different types of recyclables, such as putting tin cans inside plastic bags.

Hume mayor Geoff Porter is encouraging residents to sort their recycling and be mindful of the waste hierarchy while putting out their recycling bins as usual.

Hume council has said its recycling services will continue unchanged and has not been impacted by the industry issue.