Recycling crisis hits ratepayers

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RATEPAYERS across Frankston will cop an increase in charges for recycling in the wake of China banning almost all of recycling material previously sold to China from overseas.

Any items with a plastics or paper component of just 0.5 per cent can no longer be sent to China as part of that country’s push to stop “foreign rubbish” imports.

Frankston Council expects the recycling charge will rise by 75 cents a week on a standard 240-litre recycling bin, a $38 increase annually for each household in the municipality.

“Instead of being paid for product, councils are now being forced to pay recycling companies to take the product in the short term,” Frankston mayor Cr Colin Hampton said.

Councils across Victoria will be forced to increase recycling charges as the China crisis begins to bite in the recycling chain.

The charge is separate to rates and is not capped under the Labor state government’s rate capping policy introduced in 2016.

Rates are capped at a limit calculated using the consumer price index annual rise as a benchmark.

Councils can apply to the Essential Services Commission for an exemption to increase rates above the cap in “exceptional circumstances”.

Federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg met state environment ministers in Melbourne on Friday (27 April) to discuss how Australia can avoid a recycling pile-up on its shores.

Mr Frydenberg announced after the meeting the federal government will work with state governments to try to make almost all packaging reusable or compostable by 2025.

Cr Hampton said: “The longer-term challenge is to further develop both an Australian recycling manufacturing industry and sustainable markets to use the recycled material, therefore relying less on export markets.

“Frankston City Council is working with the Victorian government to address this.”

Council expects the annual cost of recycling across the Frankston municipality to rise by more than $2 million each year, forcing the rise in the recycling charge to households.

The mayor said about 15,000 tonnes of recyclables is annually collected from kerbside bins.

First published in the Frankston Times – 30 April 2018

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