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MAV response to SKM recycling story

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Cr Coral Ross, MAV President said one of the critical actions identified in our Rescue Our Recycling Action Plan is greater oversight of the recycling industry by the State Government.

“However, we do not agree with The Age that ‘councils are being forced by state laws’ to hire SKM for their kerbside recycling.

“The failure of SKM to manage its business and communicate its financial, workplace safety and operational situation to its customers (including councils) points to the need for greater oversight and regulation of the industry,” she said.

For clarification, the MAV position is that councils have certain obligations under the Local Government Act about going to market and achieving best value for the community.

Best value relates to cost and other relevant factors. SKM has a number of sites across Melbourne and in Geelong and had stated that they planned to invest further in their operations. These would have been relevant considerations for councils when selecting their provider.

Councils also seek access to data on our recycling facilities to help to inform their contract decision-making. Data includes the processing and storage capacity of individual facilities and their whole network, pressure points for individual material streams, how much capacity is currently contracted out, their compliance and enforcement status/history, and a summary of each recycler’s markets for their material once it leaves their facility.

Collection of this data requires stronger independent oversight of the recycling industry – so they operate with more transparency and accountability – rather than relying on the word of individual operators.