Brimbank council is in discussions with its recycling contractor, SKM, to ensure kerbside bin collections remain as changes to the global recycling market continue to cause concerns.

China placed a ban on accepting 24 categories of solid waste from Australia in January, leaving council contractors across Victoria scrambling to find new markets for their recyclables to avoid disrupting kerbside bin collections.

China was Australia’s biggest buyer of recyclable material, taking 600,000 tonnes of material each year.

An SKM spokesperson said the changes will require a new contract with the Brimbank council.

“SKM’s focus right now is putting in place new agreements with our clients which take into account the dramatic change in market conditions to allow us to continue our services,” the spokesperson said.

“We’ve worked closely with the Municipal Association of Victoria and regional waste management groups on this to avoid having to disrupt recycling services to communities in those council areas. We are also developing long-term commercial arrangements which will provide certainty beyond July 1 for all councils.

“It is more important than ever that government provide the industry support and required infrastructure investment to maintain kerbside recycling.”

Brimbank council infrastructure and city services director Neil Whiteside said discussions have progressed positively.

He said: “Brimbank is currently operating under existing contract conditions with SKM Recycling.”

While talks have progressed, the possibility of ratepayers paying for the additional costs associated with a new agreement with SKM remains.

“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,” Mr Whiteside said.

He said recyclable waste will only be distributed to landfill as a final resort.