Circular Economy Reform in Murrindindi Shire

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Murrindindi Shire Council, together with councils across North-East Victoria, is participating in a joint tender for waste and recycling collection and processing services, so Council can implement the Victorian Government’s circular economy policy.

You might have heard that in 2020, the Victorian Government released a blueprint for improving recycling in Victoria. The ‘Recycling Victoria: A new economy’ Policy is the Victorian Government’s 10-year circular economy policy and action plan to transform the state’s recycling sector, reduce waste, and set Victoria up for a more sustainable future.

The Policy requires that all Victorian households have access to separate recycling services for food organics and garden organics (FOGO) and glass. It also requires that kerbside recycling services are standardised across the state. Councils across Victoria need to implement these changes and we are now planning how best to do this in Murrindindi Shire.

Council’s Resource Recovery and Environment Portfolio Councillor Karine Haslam said Council will soon be asking our communities about how these services should be delivered.

‘The Victorian Government wants to bring in two additional streams of recycling – FOGO and glass recycling. These two measures will divert waste from landfill, reduce the impacts of waste on our environment and improve how we recycle in Victoria.

‘Food and garden organics in landfill are a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and make up approximately 63% of the waste in residential kerbside bins in our Shire. And glass, when crushed into paper in the recycling collection truck, contaminates recyclable paper material, making it unusable’, Cr Haslam added.

‘Council’s existing waste and recycling contracts are coming to an end in 2025. By acting now, we are allowing adequate time for service providers to invest in new equipment and facilities to meet the demands of councils across Victoria. We are also pooling our resources with other regional councils through a joint tender process to make the opportunity more attractive for potential providers to invest in our region and to help us get more ‘bang for our buck’.

‘Council will soon be asking residents and ratepayers their views about how waste and recycling should be delivered.

‘The kerbside service will be standardised throughout the state. This means that bin colours and lids will be the same everywhere, and that the same things can be recycled in each bin, no matter where you live in Victoria. But we still have the chance to choose how these services are delivered, based on different community needs. Our needs in Murrindindi Shire might be quite different to those of residents in metropolitan areas, where a four-bin system will make the most sense.

We will shortly be asking our community how you would like to see these services delivered. Options might include whether waste and recycling services are offered to all residents, and not just those living within a compulsory waste charge zone. We’ll also be asking you to consider the size of your bins and how often they should be collected. Some residents may prefer a drop-off service for glass or FOGO at our Resource Recovery Centres over a kerbside service, and there will be others that take their home composting very seriously and don’t feel as though they need a FOGO service – although it’s important to remember that FOGO will include food organics like raw and cooked meat, dairy, and bones’, Cr Haslam said.

‘With different options available to us for the ways we can deliver waste and recycling services, each option will come with different costs. While we don’t yet know exact costs for these services until we receive and review tender submissions, we know that there will be increased costs for Council to provide them. We are strongly advocating for funding support from the Victoria Government to help subsidise the cost of providing four separate waste/recycling streams so we can reduce costs which are passed on to ratepayers. We are also advocating for funding to investigate options for facilitating local FOGO processing and to deliver a comprehensive community education program, which we would like to start as soon as possible.

‘Rest assured, we’ll be completely transparent with our community about any associated costs for the different options, to enable you all to provide well-informed feedback on how you’d like to see these services delivered in our Shire.

‘We need to balance our obligations under the rollout of the Circular Economy Reform with the increase in costs for our community. We’ll work with our community to support an easy transition to these new services and to support a logical and cost-effective delivery of FOGO and glass recycling’, Cr Haslam said.

/Public Release. View in full here.