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More than 30 councils affected by SKM Recycling closure in Victoria

SKM Recycling will stop receiving recyclables, which will affect 33 Melbourne councils it holds contracts with as well as other recycling service providers.

In late July, the company told councils it would not accept material at any of its sites because of its inability to process glass at its GRS glass facility.

SKM was banned from receiving recyclable material from July 11 to July 13 at its Laverton site, and in mid-July the EPA Victoria issued SKM with a notice that required the company to bring its outdoor stockpiles at its Coolaroo facility into compliance with the Victorian Waste Management Policy.

SKM has also been party to legal proceedings in the Supreme Court as creditors seek to recover $4.3 million or an order to declare the company insolvent.

On July 24, the Supreme Court gave SKM 10 days to find a buyer and repay its debts.

SKM has warned that 400,000 tonnes of waste per year would go to landfill if the company were to shut.

On July 27, SKM announced its closure, which meant that most of its contracted councils have no other options but to send recyclable material to landfill whilst continuing kerbside collections for households.

In order to offer support, the Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group (MWRRG) has been in daily contact with affected councils, state government, the Municipal Association of Victoria and other recycling service providers to assess their capacity to take extra recyclables, and divert as much as safely possible away from landfill.

MWRRG is progressing plans for new collaborative procurements for recycling services, working with 11 council clusters comprising more than 60 councils across the state.

By councils working together, larger contracts will be offered to the industry to encourage investment in recycling infrastructure and technology, and to attract new candidates to the Victorian recycling sector.

The industry will be asked to provide an expression of interest on the collaborative procurements in August, with detailed submissions expected by the end of the year.

Contracts are expected to be in place by June 2020, MWRRG indicated.