THE City of Greater Bendigo says it is business as usual with its recycling services, despite fears of a global fallout from a decision by China to restrict the amount of recyclable material it imports from Australia.
A City of Greater Bendigo spokesperson yesterday confirmed that while the city’s recycling services had not yet been impacted by the events, the organisation was working to determine just how it could be affected, as the situation unfolded.
The state government says it is working with other levels of government and the broader waste and recycling industry to respond to changes in the market which threaten to undermine the local government sector’s best efforts to reduce the amount of recyclable material being sent to landfill.
Australia’s leading recycling company, Visy Recycling, has notified affected councils, including Greater Shepparton, Macedon Ranges, Horsham and Ararat, that it would stop accepting council recycling on February 9, following the changes within the Chinese market.
Affected councils could be forced to stockpile recyclable materials as the ramifications of the Chinese decision to tighten up on imports cuts deep into the sector, and there are concerns the recycling industry could collapse.
It’s understood an urgent state-wide review of all municipal recycling contracts and services has been commissioned to determine how widespread the impact of the Chinese restrictions could become, and the potential challenges to the domestic recycling industry.
Greater Bendigo residents and businesses have been encouraged to continue using their existing recycling service, and to abide by recycling guidelines to avoid contamination of materials otherwise diverted from the waste system.
In a statement released yesterday, energy minister Lily D’Ambrosio said she was seeking assurances Victorians would not be impacted by developments in the global recycling industry.
“I have asked for a meeting with these businesses to seek an explanation into what’s happened and will be discussing these matters with local government,” she said.