Council’s recycling respite
by DAVID HOGG
9th September 2019
By DAVID HOGG
The DIARY continues to follow the ongoing recycling crisis which has forced Nillumbik Council to take recycling waste to landfill for the past few weeks.
A comprehensive statement of the current position was posted on Nillumbik’s website on August 30.
“SKM’s Laverton facility is expected to re-commence processing recycling within five weeks; however, timeframes are still unknown for the Coolaroo, Geelong and Hallam facilities.”
Nillumbik, along with the 32 other Councils affected by the closure of SKM, is hopeful that this is the beginning of the return to normal recycling practices.
Presently Nillumbik, like many other councils, has no alternative than to send this material to landfill, but is exploring alternatives to try and stop this from happening.
An earlier bulletin from Nillumbik gave indication of the complex and confusing series of contracts in place, the Diary sought clarification from Nillumbik’s Chief Executive Officer Carl Cowie.
Nillumbik Shire Council is one of five Councils that has a contract with the Metropolitan Waste Resource Recovery Group (MWRRG) to manage its recycling, and they in turn have a contract with SKM Industries Pty Ltd.
A separate company, SKM Corporate Pty Ltd, was the first to be placed into liquidation, and another company SKM Recycling Pty Ltd has a direct deed with Nillumbik Council for day to day contractual matters.
On August 21, mainstream media reported Cleanaway paid $60m to become the major lender and has put Cleanaway, effectively, in control of the recycling group.
Although the details of contracts and payment arrangements, which were renegotiated in June just before this crisis broke, have been kept as a closely guarded secret by Council, Mr Cowie clarified that Council does not continue to pay SKM or its receivers if they do not take recycling.
Recycling sent to landfill is subject to the Victorian government’s landfill levy.
The Victorian government recently announced financial support to councils to manage the impacts on their recycling system with the closure of SKM, but the specific detail of this financial assistance on a council-by-council basis is not yet fully understood.
As well as continuing to work with the MWRRG on alternatives, Council is applying for some of the $6.6 million recycling rebate on offer from the Victorian Government to help cover the cost of the landfill levy.
It is also exploring options to accept a broader range of separated materials such as glass and plastics at their Recycling and Recovery Centre.
Although Nillumbik and other councils will be relieved recycling sorting facilities are coming back online, this crisis is far from over.
Manningham Council is not affected at this stage, as its recyclables are handled by Visy Recycling.