Southern Tasmanian Councils must admit that recyclables will be sent to landfill

Media Release

The TCT calls on Southern Tasmanian Councils to tell rate-payers the truth, that most recyclables previously received by insolvent company SKM Recycling will now be sent to landfill and until alternative recycling services can be arranged that Councils should stop charging a recycling fee.

SKM Recycling was declared insolvent by the Supreme Court of Victoria on Friday 2 August 2019 due to the company's inability to pay bills of $5.5 million. This court case was precipitated by the forced closure by the Victorian EPA of SKM facilities at Coolaroo in May and Laverton North in July when they became full of stockpiled recyclable materials.

In recent years SKM Recycling has been receiving recyclable materials from most southern Tasmania residences, including those in Glenorchy, Hobart, Kingborough, Clarence and Sorell. In recent weeks several councils have advised rate-payers to continue putting out their recycling bins while SKM's future is investigated. It is our understanding that alternative arrangements have been put into place to ensure glass is continued to be recycled, with another company taking over SKM's responsibilities. However, it seems that other recyclables; paper, card board and metal and plastic containers, are being stockpiled or sent to landfill.

"Southern Tasmanian councils seem unable to tell rate-payers what Victorian Councils have been saying for weeks, that SKM has closed its business and recyclables must now be sent to landfill until alternative recycling options are put into place" said TCT Director Peter McGlone.

"It seems inevitable that SKM's facility in Derwent Park will have to stop receiving and sorting paper, card board and metal and plastic containers because SKM's facilities in Victoria, that do the recycling, are now closed.They can stockpile for only a shorty period of time before they must close."

"Southern Tasmanian councils will have to do what Victorian Councils have done and order that recyclables be sent to landfill and tell their rate-payers this is occurring."

A quick Google search shows that the City of Melbourne, Surf Coast Shire, Casey Shire and others are making it perfectly clear that their recyclables are being sent to landfill (see below for details).

"While our councils tell rate-payers they don't know how SKM's closure will impact recycling, Victorian councils are telling their rate-payers the facts and getting on with the job of telling them how else to recycle. They have also succeeded in getting $6.6 million from the Victorian government to find alternative recycling solutions."

"Until our councils can provide alternative recycling services they must immediately cease charging people a recycling fee for this service or reduce the fee."

Peter McGlone
TCT Director

After the Victorian court decision the City of Melbourne notified rate-payers on its web site that:

"SKM Recycling have now closed which means they are no longer accepting recycling from City of Melbourne. This means that in the short term we will have to divert our recyclable collections to landfill."

The Guardian has reported that City of Melbourne is sending 45 tonnes of recyclables each day to landfill.

Surf Coast Shire issued a media release on 2 August 2019 stating that "Recyclable material collected at the kerbside across the Surf Coast Shire has been going to the Anglesea landfill since 26 July 2019 when SKM ceased its operations".

On 6 August 2019 the Casey Shire issued a media statement that "For the majority of councils who utilise SKM including Casey, the only immediate option available is to send recyclable materials to landfill until the matter is resolved or a viable alternative becomes available."