Media Releases | 19th Feb, 2010

Swift action needed to save recycling jobs

Friday, 19 February 2010

Environment Victoria today called on the State Government and the Opposition to stop treating the recycling industry as a political football and work together to support Victoria’s struggling recycling industry.

Environment Victoria CEO Kelly O’Shanassy said today that the global financial crisis combined with Victoria’s current inadequate landfill levies are leading to job losses in recycling and would see the state’s recycling rate fall below its current level of 62 per cent of solid waste.

“Victorians have steadily increased recycling rates from next to nothing to 62 per cent over the past 20 years. Recycling reduces greenhouse emissions and water use and the risk of problems like we’ve seen at Cranbourne landfill.”

“This time last year recycling industries employed 6500 Victorians, however that number is falling because at the moment, the economics of recycling don’t stack up. Right now, its cheaper to dump waste than it is to recycle in Victoria it but dumping waste pollutes our cities and affects the wellbeing of communities nearby landfills. It also wastes precious resources. If the full costs of dumping waste were counted, recycling would be the cheaper option.”

“Victoria needs to increase its landfill levies and ensure that the revenue raised supports new recycling facilities and businesses. Currently landfill levies in Victoria are just $9 per tonne while in Sydney the levy is $58 per tonne.”

“Levies need to be increased for household waste, commercial & industrial and construction & demolition waste. We’d support a user pays approach, with the levy applying on a tonnage basis rather than as a flat rate. This gives Victorians the option of avoiding levy increases by creating less waste or increasing their recycling rates.”

“We need the Government and the Coalition to work constructively to stem the job losses in recycling and support a sustainable industry. People’s jobs are at risk so its not the time for political wrestling. The government and opposition need to urgently agree on an approach that will allow Victorians to continue to increase recycling rates, save jobs and save our recycling industry.”

For further information or comment:

Kelly O’Shanassy 0421 054 402
Mark Wakeham 0439 700 501