Advice sought to fix Vic recycling woes

The Victorian government is seeking expert advice on how to deal with the state's recycling woes.
The Victorian government is seeking expert advice on how to deal with the state's recycling woes.

What does Victoria need to build to help fix the state's recyclable waste crisis?

That's the question being asked of the state's infrastructure agency, after recent problems including kerbside recyclable waste going to landfill amid growing stockpiles.

Special Minister of State Gavin Jennings wants Infrastructure Victoria to look at what's needed to develop waste-to-energy projects and resource recovery from organic waste.

It comes after the discovery of a dozen illegal waste sites in Melbourne's north as well as toxic factory fires involving waste stockpiles at Campbellfield, West Footscray and Coolaroo.

The fires sparked a parliamentary inquiry, which earlier this month was told four illegal waste storage sites found in Melbourne were run by Bradbury Industrial Services.

China's decision last year to stop accepting foreign waste caused a recyclables crisis in Australia as local councils started sending recycling to landfill.

"Recent changes in the global market for recycled products mean there are flow-on impacts for how Victoria collects, sorts and exports waste," Infrastructure Victoria boss Michel Masson said on Thursday.

"We will build on the substantial amount of work that already exists or is being progressed to support Victoria's waste management, and will ensure our advice takes account of community attitudes and expectations."

The infrastructure authority said it would have more to say in coming weeks after speaking with industry, councils and communities.

But Victorian Greens leader Samantha Ratnam said the latest move to try and solve the recycling crisis was too little, too late.

"It's been 16 months since China closed its door to our contaminated recycling and now as the crisis is deepening internationally, they want to delay another year before they start to act," she said, calling on the government to rule out waste incinerators.

"We can no longer dump our waste on poor countries. We must take responsibility.

"We can create a cleaner, more sustainable world and generate much-needed recycling industry jobs in regional areas."

Australian Associated Press