Moyne Shire raises concerns over recyclable commodities market

Published on 31 January 2018

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Moyne Shire has written to five key politicians asking what they plan to do about the possible collapse of the recyclable commodities market in Australia.

Concerned about the environmental and financial impacts of a possible market collapse, councillors voted to write to state minister for energy, environment and climate change Lily D’Ambrosio, member for Wannon Dan Tehan, member for Western Victoria James Purcell, member for South West Coast Roma Britnell, and federal minister for environment and energy Josh Frydenberg.

The letter highlights the potential problems facing Australia in the wake of China’s decision to stop accepting recyclable material from the rest of the world.

“With China now restricting the importation of recyclable commodities from Australia as well as the USA, Japan and Europe, the market for recycled goods including steel, aluminium, plastics and paper is on the verge of collapsing,” the letter states. 

“Without a market for recycled goods, recycling processors are already refusing to accept recycling material from council waste contractors or are increasing prices five-fold to accept recyclable materials.

“(Moyne Shire Council) has been advised the cost of disposing one tonne of recycling collected from kerbside bins at the local recycling facility is to increase from $40/tonne to $200/tonne this year. This equates to an additional $210,000 per annum on existing waste management costs.

“Clearly, this matter is of state and national significance. Not only is the cost a concern, but this collapse in the recyclables commodities market poses a significant risk to the responsible management of waste in Australia. 

“Under the scenario detailed above, it is less expensive to dispose of recyclable material to landfill. This is an environmentally unacceptable option and undermines decades of effort to ensure waste streams are separated and resources are recovered for future use.

“Council would like to be advised what the (state and federal governments are) proposing to ensure the recycling commodities market remains viable and waste management remains affordable for our communities.”

Moyne Shire Council eagerly awaits the replies of the five politicians contacted.