Monash Council has secured its household recycling service with Visy, despite the volatility of the recycling industry in the wake of the global crisis triggered by China’s ban on recycling.
However, this has come at a significant cost. The China ban has resulted in recycling companies no longer offering a rebate to councils as they have in the past for processing recycling materials. Instead recycling companies will charge a fee for processing of household recycling.
Over the next 10 years, the cost to Monash Council could be over $18million. This is a cost to Council that was unexpected and not budgeted for.
Given the increased financial burden, Monash Council has resolved to seek a variation to the current rate cap citing exceptional circumstances.
Council has written to the Essential Services Commission seeking a variation in the rate cap for the 2018/19 rating year to ensure it can meet the recycling charges being introduced.
The variation in the rate cap would only be used to recoup the additional costs of the new recycling service and would not be used for other waste charges.
If the request for a variation in the rate cap is unsuccessful, Council may be forced to pursue a separate waste charge to meet the increased costs.
Monash Council is one of seven Melbourne councils that does not have a separate waste charge. Those councils that do have a waste charge are considering adjusting their waste charge to pay for increased costs to the service.
Monash Mayor Paul Klisaris said Council was pleased to have secured its service with Visy after weeks of uncertainty, and to be able to reassure residents there would be no disruption to their household recycling collection.
Cr Klisaris said China’s ban had created a global recycling crisis that warranted seeking the rate cap variation.
“This is not just an issue for Monash, it’s a global crisis that has hit the recycling industry and is impacting on all councils and businesses world-wide,” Cr Klisaris said.
“Seeking a variation on the rate cap is not a decision we have made lightly but we are now faced with increased recycling fees that we as a community have to meet,” Cr Klisaris said.
“These are exceptional circumstances and we hope the Essential Services Commission will recognise this is a crisis for councils and permit an exemption to the current rate cap to allow for a small increase in the rate we charge which will allow us to meet the cost of this essential service for residents.”
If either a rate variation or a waste charge is introduced, Council will consider a pensioner discount as part of the change.
“This is a world-wide change to recycling that all councils are grappling with. Unfortunately, we have little choice but to introduce either of these measures to meet the unexpected costs that have been thrust upon us because of this crisis,” Cr Klisaris said.
Council will also apply for an allocation of the $12 million support package for councils announced by the State Government on 23 February to help councils meet the increased costs of recycling.
Media Contact: Jo Robertson 0418 391 979 or email Joanne.Robertson@monash.vic.gov.au