The future of kerbside recycling of soft plastics in Hobsons Bay is in doubt amid the Chinese recycling crisis.

Hobsons Bay council introduced flexible plastics recycling for households in 2016.

It is one of four pioneering councils to introduce the state-government funded initiative, along with Boroondara, Cardinia and Nillumbik.

Plastic bags and flexible plastic packaging can be collected into one plastic bag, tied up and placed in the recycling bin.

However, the project is being reviewed by the four councils and the Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group in light of data collected over the past 18 months and challenges in Victoria’s recycling industry.

In January 2018, China began to implement a 0.5 per cent contamination threshold for imported waste, affecting those in the Australian recycling industry who rely on China to process materials such as plastics.

Hobsons Bay mayor Jonathon Marsden said it was disappointing that soft plastics recycling was in question due to “factors outside of our control”.

“Council will keep the community informed and provide timely updates to the project,” he said. “In the meantime, council encourages households to continue to reduce flexible plastic use such as cling wrap and sandwich bags, and recycle flexible plastics.

“Another option to recycle flexible plastics is through the REDcycle bins at Coles and Woolworths supermarkets.”

Altona North environmental science student Sandy Gonzalez de la Vega is among a groundswell of Hobsons Bay residents pushing to reduce plastic waste.

“It’s fantastic that our council accepts soft plastics for recycling instead of sending it to landfill,” she said. “It’s a great start, however, waste minimisation should be our priority and is the most environmentally-friendly option.

“Rather than saying ‘it’s OK to keep buying, using and throwing out so much plastic because it gets recycled’, we should become smart consumers by using re-usable products, buying things in less packaging, and throwing out less.”


Goya Dmytryshchak