Around-the-clock efforts to clear waste stockpiles and rehabilitate Victoria’s waste processing facilities have restored recycling services to the state in record time. Facilities in Coolaroo, Hallam, Geelong and the Laverton North Material Recovery Facility (MRF) are now fully operational following the successful acquisition of SKM Recycling Group’s assets.
The network of facilities, now known as Victoria Resource Recovery, were acquired by Cleanaway in October 2019 from the SKM Recycling Group, whose closure in July 2019 greatly affected the reputation of recycling in Victoria. Councils and households who trusted that their recycling efforts were being managed correctly were understandably disappointed when recycling had to be sent to landfill.
Cleanaway CEO and Managing Director Vik Bansal welcomed the new facilities to the Cleanaway family, “Our teams worked tirelessly to bring these facilities back to the required environmental and operational standards in an extremely short period of time without compromise to safety or quality. It was not acceptable to us that after years of conscientiously sorting their recyclables, Victorians be told that their recycling must be put on hold for an extended period.”
“We are working closely with our council customers to restore the trust in recycling, while we continue to optimise our operations to support a sustainable recycling business.” said Vik.
Pictured: Sorting recyclables at Laverton North MRF
The sites were overworked and lacking in maintenance for a significant period, requiring weeks of operational and logistical clean up efforts. Stockpiled waste was removed from sites, machinery and conveyor belts were replaced and optical sorting systems were recalibrated.
In line with our compliance standards, all sites have had extensive works undertaken to fire control and stormwater systems.
Pictured: Bales of recycling ready to be sent for further processing
The major challenge continuing to face kerbside recycling is contamination from items such as textiles, e-waste, batteries and machinery, soft plastic, used nappies, pots and pans, and organic material.
Approximately 20-23% of non-recyclable material is received at our VRR MRFs from commingled recycling collections.
Contamination is particularly problematic because it can destroy good quality recycling and damage machinery in facilities. It’s estimated that an additional 10% of recyclable material is lost due to contamination in processing.
“Moving forward, we are working with residents and council customers to minimise contamination and improve the quality of recyclables collected. To further incentivise recycling, our new contract with Geelong Region Alliance (G21) includes a discount for councils with low levels of contamination and a commitment to work with councils to find viable local solutions for recyclables.” said Vik.
Cleanaway will be supporting councils with a range of educational material to help manage any uncertainty over bin inclusions including flyers, videos and social media. Residents who are unclear about recycling rules should refer to their council for the latest advice.
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