Coronavirus update 13 March 2020

Coronavirus: guidance and support.

Statement from the Mayor of Boroondara, Cr Cynthia Watson

The City of Boroondara has always put the needs of our residents and the sustainability of our community at the forefront of our actions. While more sustainable waste management strategies are needed to reduce waste, Council is seeking information from the Victorian Government following their unilateral decision to introduce a fourth household bin for glass collections.

At this point in time, Council has serious concerns and questions which can only be addressed by the Victorian Government, including:

  • The financial impact (on both councils and ratepayers) from the cost of collecting and processing a fourth dedicated glass bin.
  • Allocating funding to cover the extra resources needed to implement a fourth bin collection - such as trucks, staff and transition facilities - where will this money come from?
  • Where will this new waste stream be processed? It is well known the state currently doesn’t have the capacity to manage the amount of recycling being collected.
  • Where will the bins go? Residents with limited space on their properties cannot store a fourth bin. 
  • Does the Victorian Government intend to use funds from the waste levy to fully fund the rollout of this new fourth bin? 
  • Does the Victorian Government intend to increase the waste levy burden on ratepayers to fund this initiative?
  • Why, when some existing quality recycling processors have the capability of sorting broken glass and glass from other recyclables, is there a need to incur substantial additional costs to simply separate glass? 
  • If the Victorian Government intends to make this a mandatory requirement, why is it only funding the bin and not the service? The bin is the cheapest part of providing a waste service.

The operational impacts of this proposal will be significant and may require more trucks for glass materials, additional staff and transfer stations. The cost of these resources, additional truck movements and bins will have cost based impacts on the community. This must be examined through a business case. It is estimated the initial first year cost of introducing such a system will be in the order of $4.5 million for implementation of a fourth bin to 63,000 households. The ongoing costs for this single waste stream could be an additional $3.5 million per year. 

Currently there is no transparency in the real benefits from either a recycling or cost benefit perspective. Councils could find themselves running trucks and staff around the municipality to collect bins with relatively small quantities of glass with no clarity on the financial or environmental benefits. 

There needs to be assurances the state has the infrastructure and capacity to recycle and repurpose glass materials. Victoria experienced a recycling crisis in 2019 because the capacity required to manage all of the state’s recyclable materials does not exist within the Victorian infrastructure. 

The Victorian Government has spoken extensively about its Circular Economy Paper which was meant to articulate a policy on how the government intends to support waste minimisation strategies in this state. This fourth bin has been introduced with complete absence of a policy framework to ensure there is an integrated approach based on a business case.

Council is once again calling on the Victorian Government to: 

  1. Use the $500 million Sustainability Fund accrued from the waste levy collected from all Victorians.
  2. Be more proactive in identifying a long term plan for recycling. A world which relies on shipping our waste, albeit recyclable, to other countries is not sustainable.
  3. All actions should be driven by comprehensive consultations with local governments, industry stakeholders and the community to address concerns, minimise disruptions and the financial impacts to our ratepayers.

 

The above statement is attributable to the Mayor of the City of Boroondara, Cr Cynthia Watson.

For more information please call Eren Cakmakkaya, Media and Advocacy Specialist at the City of Boroondara on 0481 912 411.