Whittlesea residents are being encouraged to hold on to their recycling for two weeks to avoid it being sent to landfill.

The council is one of 20 across Melbourne whose kerbside recycling collections are sent to SKM Services’ plants at Coolaroo and Laverton North.

The Environment Protection Authority has ordered SKM to stop accepting waste at both sites amid concerns they are fire risks.

EPA chief executive Cathy Wilkinson said officers recently inspected SKM’s Coolaroo and Laverton North sites and observed large stockpiles of combustible recyclable materials from kerb-side collections stored without appropriate separation between stockpiles, buildings or the premises’ boundaries.

Recycling facility operators who store combustible recyclable waste materials are required to manage materials in a way that minimises risks to health and the environment in the event of a fire.

SKM will be unable to accept waste until the EPA has confirmed the sites are complaint with the waste management policy.

In a Facebook post on Sunday afternoon, Whittlesea council advised residents that the coming week’s recycling collections would be sent to landfill.

“All recycling bins will be collected on their normal collection day, but the contents will have to go to landfill,” the post said.

“It is very sad that we face this situation as council is committed to protecting our environment, as we know our community is. But we are confident that the state government and SKM will work together to quickly reopen the recycling plants.”



The council has asked residents to hold on to their recycling until their next collection in a fortnight, if possible.

“We have been told that SKM recycling facilities should be open by Friday,” the council said.

Hume council will also send its recycling collections to landfill.

Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said the government was assisting councils with contingency plans.