Northern Grampians Shire and Ararat Rural City continue to collect recycling bins as import ban deadline approaches

The Wheelie Waste contractor empties a 120-litre garbage bin in Stawell in 2014. Picture: KERRI KINGSTON
The Wheelie Waste contractor empties a 120-litre garbage bin in Stawell in 2014. Picture: KERRI KINGSTON

Northern Grampians Shire and Ararat Rural City will continue to collect recycling bins as they and 20 other municipalities try to find a solution amid a waste management crisis.

Kerbside recycling collections will continue as per normal within the Northern Grampians Shire Council in spite of an unfolding issue within the Victorian waste industry.

Visy and its contractor Wheelie Waste told councils across Victoria last week that they will stop accepting recycling by Friday.

The stoppage has been blamed on Chinese companies raising their import standards for recycling materials.

Almost 24 per cent of collected waste in Ararat Rural City and more than 31 per cent in Northern Grampians is recycling or organic green waste.

Northern Grampians Shire mayor Tony Driscoll said residents could be reassured that kerbside waste and recycling collection will continue as per normal.

“Ratepayers will not see any disruptions to their services or any increase in costs in the short-term,” Cr Driscoll said.

“Council is already working proactively to develop a solution to the issue, and we are being guided by a number of external stakeholders on this issue, including the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change.

“This is not an issue localised solely within the Northern Grampians Shire - this is an issue affecting a number of councils right across Victoria, and we will be holding discussions with similarly-affected municipalities as we seek the best outcome for our community.”

Ararat Rural City deputy mayor, Cr Gwenda Allgood has also said kerbside collections will continue, with the council saying it would be “business as usual”.

Municipal Association of Victoria chief executive Rob Spence told the ABC said there appeared to be higher cost options for shipping recyclables overseas and he hoped that could happen without increasing the burden on ratepayers.

“The last thing we want to see is this product going into landfill,” he said. 

Victorian Waste Management Association chief executive Peter Anderson told the ABC that there needed to be a long-term solution.

“Councils and governments are responsible for saying ‘OK, what are we going to do now with recyclable goods?” he said.

“It is a major concern because we don’t stop throwing things out.”