The crisis that has crippled Victoria’s waste and recycling sector has become so severe the Victorian government has called on Infrastructure Victoria to solve it.
Victoria’s recycling system has struggled to cope since China stopped taking our rubbish early last year. Several councils in Melbourne and regional Victoria have
been forced to dump recyclables into landfill, stockpiles of combustible material have ignited into toxic fires and charges have been laid against operators accused of unscrupulous practices.
Infrastructure Victoria will look at how to turn around the recycling woes and build a local industry that can turn recyclables into products for manufacturing, agriculture and construction. It will investigate converting waste to energy and improving sorting and collection to minimise spoilage that prevents material being reused.
It will also seek to limit the need for major new landfill sites as Victoria’s population grows towards a projected 10 million people by 2051. Michael Masson, Chief
Executive of Infrastructure Victoria, said the creation of a thriving recycling market would reduce the need for landfill sites, which can come into conflict with residential areas and generate greenhouse gases. ‘‘What we are driving is, what can we do differently in order to avoid the race to more landfills,’’ he said. But Mr Masson said this was not a task for government alone, and one of the agency’s main tasks would be to find ways to rebuild the privately led market for recycled materials. ‘‘Having the recycling materials is just one aspect, you also have to have the market to use them,’’ he said