Recycler warns that woes may grow

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THE Alex Fraser Group has begun a renewed push to keep their recycling facility in Clarinda open past 2023.

The Alex Fraser Group was granted a 15 year permit in 2008 with an exit date of 2023 targeted. The group made a push for another 15 year licence extension in late 2014, but they faced unanimous opposition from the previous Kingston Council. The move to extend their concrete crushing operations was eventually blocked when planning minister Richard Wynne announced Green Wedge land north of Kingston and Heatherton Rds would be rezoned from Special Use, allowing waste businesses, to a Green Wedge A Zone (‘Time to take out the trash in Green Wedge’, The News, 21/10/15).

The News reported in February this year that the group had circulated a brochure to council seeking a 10 year extension of their permit. Alex Fraser Group managing director Peter Murphy has now confirmed that a new application had been lodged with council to extend their licence to operate for another 15 years. He said that the site would be forced to shut down if an extension could not be secured.

“Victoria is already in a recycling crisis, this would only make things worse,” Mr Murphy said.

“Kerbside glass is at the heart of Victoria’s recycling crisis. Our Clarinda facility recycles 200 million broken glass bottles every year. Closure could mean they go to landfill instead.

“If we’re shut down, it would also mean Victoria loses access to one million tonnes a year of recycled resources needed to complete major infrastructure projects in Melbourne’s south east. A major metropolitan quarry would have to be established to extract the same volume of resources.”

Mr Murphy said that the group has tried to work with the state government to find alternate sites, but had been unsuccessful. “Unfortunately, there are no viable alternative sites, and so we’re asking Kingston City Council for more time,” he said.

“We need more time so we can continue to recycle until we can relocate, to avoid adding to Victoria’s recycling and resources crises.

“Victorians want certainty about what’s happening with their waste. If this key recycling facility is shut down in 2023, it would significantly impact on Victoria’s recycling capability, and cut the supply of construction materials that are helping to build Victoria.”

Recycling has proved to be a headache for Kingston Council this year. SKM closures have forced council to divert recycling to landfill on multiple occasions.

First published in the Chelsea Mordialloc Mentone News – 11 September 2019

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