How to dispose of recycling is causing headaches for 33 Victorian councils, including the City of Whittlesea, following the Supreme Court of Victoria’s declaration of insolvency for SKM Recycling.
The company was wound up last week for failing to pay 16 creditors more than $5.5 million.
The City of Whittlesea expressed their disappointment when a week before, council was given last minute notice that SKM would cease accepting recyclable materials.
“We are very disappointed to let you know that council’s recycling processor SKM told us it had stopped receiving recyclable material until further notice,” a City of Whittlesea spokesperson said.
It comes after the Environmental Protection Authority banned glass processing at SKM’s Coolaroo plant in May, diverting recyclables to the Laverton North Plant, which was subsequently shut down due to dangerous levels of stockpiles inviting risks to human health and environment.
The Environmental Protection Authority issued a statement about the shut down, saying SKM had allegedly failed to meet the Waste Management Policy requirements.
EPA later said after giving notices and extensions to SKM to address the policy requirements – it believed the company understood its obligations under the notices – but had not demonstrated a move towards achieving compliance at the Laverton North site.
City of Whittlesea later told residents that yellow-lid recycling bins will continue to be collected however council had no choice but to send recyclable materials collected to the Wollert landfill site.
“This issue affects 33 other councils across Victoria who share your frustration that it has come to this,” the Whittlesea council spokesperson said.
“We are working with these councils and the state and federal governments to find a solution to this recycling crisis.
“All possibilities are being explored, we just don’t have an answer yet.”
Macedon Shire Council, Hume City Council and Brimbank City Council are among the other councils affected by the shutdown.
SKM accounted for at least half of Victoria’s kerbside recycling collecting more than 200,000 tonnes of recyclables each year.