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MAV welcomes release of “Recycling Victoria”

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The Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) has welcomed the release of the Victorian Government’s much-anticipated circular economy policy, Recycling Victoria.

We congratulate the State on producing a policy that recognises significant change and investment is needed to minimise waste and improve recovery of valuable resources.

The MAV’s Rescue Our Recycling plan, released in March 2019, identified five key actions each tier of government should take to build a strong and sustainable recycling system.

We are thrilled that the new policy addresses all five actions we nominated for the Victorian Government. These include investment in recycling infrastructure; market development for recovered materials; introduction of a container deposit scheme; community education campaigns and strengthened industry oversight.

All of these measures are critical to achieve lasting beneficial change to the way we produce, consume and dispose of goods. As with all policies, effective implementation will be essential to achieve the desired circular economy outcomes.

Cr Ruth Gstrein, MAV Deputy President (Rural) said it will be critical that the State works closely with councils, industry and others to achieve best outcomes for the community.

“We welcome the State’s commitment to work with local government on the design of the container deposit scheme and to provide funding and implementation support for the roll-out of separate services for glass and food waste.

“We are pleased to see the policy acknowledges that councils will need to tailor service models to the needs of their communities, that there is no one-size-fits-all approach.

“The decision to increase the landfill levy isn’t unexpected. We don’t want Victoria becoming a dumping ground for waste from interstate simply because it’s cheaper. Our main concern is that the money raised through the levy is invested back into the resource recovery system.

“We anticipate that the $129 million funding support for kerbside bin reform will only cover a portion of the implementation costs for councils. More funding assistance will be needed to reduce impacts on households.

“We welcome the State’s commitment to advocate to the Commonwealth for national product stewardship schemes. We urgently need schemes that require companies to design out waste or otherwise take responsibility for the environmental impacts of their products. The ongoing lack of leadership and action by the Commonwealth on this issue is frustrating.

“We look forward to learning more about the new waste and recycling Act and the new waste authority. Currently, it’s unclear how a new Act and authority will interact with existing legislation and the many State agencies already working on recycling.

“It is essential that a strong focus remains on avoiding and minimising waste and on developing strong markets for recycled materials. We need everyone – government, industry and the community – to think about the impacts of their own purchasing decisions and to understand that to be a good recycler you need to buy and use recycled goods,” she said.

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For further information, contact MAV Deputy President Cr Ruth Gstrein on 0407 320 283 or the MAV Communications Unit on (03) 9667 5547.