Kerbside recycling

Jump to Frequently Asked Questions 

Since the recent announcement that Council has been left with no other choice but to take its recycling collection to landfill for the time being, we have received significant community comments and suggestions.

We would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone for their feedback. We appreciate your concern and we too are angry that recycling is being dumped at landfill.

In 2019, it’s just not good enough. The community has every right to be concerned and demanding answers.

The reality is that, in Melbourne, there are only three major players with capacity to provide the recycling service Councils need – the EPA has now shut down one (for arguably good reasons) and the other two simply do not have capacity to manage the demand.

We are also frustrated that SKM has accepted contracts, and the money that comes with, but has failed to meet its obligations to manage its recycling process.

Hume City Council was one of 20 Victorian Councils given less than 24 hours to act. We were faced with the tough decision to either go to landfill or stop the collection service. There was simply no other choice. We cannot stockpile it until an alternative solution is found because, given the quantity, it is simply not safe to do so.

We believe that the recycling industry should be thriving, creating jobs and supporting the economy and community to improve waste management. Continuous state and federal government policy failure has meant this has not happened.

It’s going to take strong leadership from all levels of government to find short-term and long-term solutions; we need to fund and coordinate the response to this critical issue.

Hume has a role to play but we are one very small fish in a large pond. Like our local government colleagues, we cannot do it alone.

The management of the waste industry is complex with many stakeholders and regulations. State and Federal governments need to come together to urgently support local government on this matter.

For the best part of decade, the Victorian Government has taxed the community through its landfill levy. There is half a billion dollars sitting in a Sustainability Fund that was supposed to be invested into recycling initiatives to stabilise the industry. The State Government must step up and answer the questions about where this money is actually going?

We cannot continually call on the community to change its behaviour, reduce waste, reuse and recycle if government leaders are not going to support these efforts through good planning and continuous regulation as well as policy and investment in the waste management industry.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is happening to my recycling?

Your recycling is being collected as normal, however instead of being processed for recycling, it will be sent to landfill.

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has ordered council’s recycling processor SKM to stop receiving recyclable material until further notice at its Coolaroo and Laverton North plants, while they manage safety issues on site.

Hume City Council was one of 20 Victorian Councils given less than 24 hours to act. We were faced with the tough decision to either go to landfill or stop the collection service.

2. Why has this happened?

The EPA visited SKM’s plants at Coolaroo and Laverton North and observed inappropriately managed stockpiles of recyclables. Large volumes of stockpiled materials pose a fire risk and a risk to human health, with the priority being to always protect the health and safety of the community.

3. How long will this last?

The State Government and EPA are working with SKM to resolve this issue as soon as possible. We will update our residents as soon as SKM is operational and receiving recyclables again via our Facebook page and website.

4. How many people are affected?

SKM receives 50 per cent of Victoria’s kerbside recycling and takes materials from 20 metropolitan Melbourne councils. Council alone collects recycling material from 7,600 bins daily.

5. Why can't the recycling go to another contractor?

In Melbourne there are three major processors of kerbside recycling including SKM. As SKM normally processes about 50 percent of all the material the others simply do not have the capacity to manage the extra demand in the short term.   

6. Can Council collect and store the recycling until SKM opens again?

We cannot stockpile it until an alternative solution is found because, given the quantity, it is simply not safe to do so, any piles would create an unacceptable fire risk.

7. Will my recycling still be collected?

Yes, all recycling bins will be collected on their normal collection day, but the contents will unfortunately have to go to landfill until this issue is resolved.

8. Do I still need to sort my rubbish?

Yes, please continue to sort your rubbish and continue using your recycling bin as normal. Hume residents have a great track record when it comes to recycling, so we encourage you to stay in the habit for when SKM resumes receiving recyclables.

9. I don't want my recycling going to landfill, what can I do?

What we can all do is seriously consider what we throw out and try to reduce and reuse where ever possible. There has never been a more important time to do this.

Posted on 5:10 PM, 20 February 2019


Updated : 5:09 PM, 20 February 2019

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