Brimbank council is making contingency plans about how to accommodate a potential rise in fees it pays for kerbside recycling collection.
Recycling giant Visy earlier this year foreshadowed that it would have to stop accepting waste from 22 regional Victoria councils after China restricted its intake of recyclables. The restrictions put a halt to the export of more than 600,000 tonnes of recycled material from Australia.
The state government last week announced a $13 million support package to assist councils affected by Visy’s decision.
Brimbank infrastructure and city services director Neil Whiteside said that while Brimbank wasn’t affected by Visy’s decision, the council had started talks with its supplier, SKM, on possible ramifications.
“Discussions have commenced with SKM Recycling to consider any impacts, including financial impact, from the current situation in the recycling industry,” Mr Whiteside said.
“The council budget for 2018-19 is currently being developed and will take into consideration any adjustments resulting from the current situation in the recycling industry.”
An SKM Recycling spokesperson welcomed the assistance package, but said more must be done to secure long-term viability of the industry.
“This is a welcome first step from the government,” said the spokesperson.
“It will give some much-needed breathing space for the industry, councils and government to work together on a longer-term solution.
“SKM looks forward to being part of those talks.”
SKM is continuing to process and sell its material to local and overseas buyers, but last month the company’s spokesperson said that was becoming more costly.
“China’s new restrictions have significantly reduced the value of some recyclable products and resulted in some industry players suspending part of their operations,” he said.
The state government’s assistance will expire on June 30, meaning all councils will be responsible for covering any costs incurred from keeping kerbside recycling services operational.