FAQs and further resources

Two people standing by recycling bin with box of recyclable items

Recycling in Ballarat is changing

For many years, much of Victoria’s recycling material, including glass, has been collected, bailed up and shipped overseas for processing. This is no longer an option.

Australia is competing with other countries to access smaller and shrinking markets - so we are looking for local markets and local solutions.

The need to find a sustainable new approach to recycling became more urgent after the collapse of SKM which collected recyclables for more than 30 Victorian Councils.

Council has entered into a new contract with Victorian company Australian Paper Recovery (APR) which has local markets for the processing, reuse and value- adding of paper, cardboard, good quality plastics and cans. However, APR does not have a market for glass, nor can its equipment process glass.

 

 

 

What should I do?

Join the thousands of Ballarat residents who recycle the right way. From 30 September 2019:

  • STOP putting glass is your yellow recycling bin
  • Re-use glass products such as jars when possible
  • Take your glass bottles or jars to one of Council’s free glass drop-off sites OR you can put glass bottles and jars in your rubbish bin and they will go to landfill
  • Clean, plastic containers from your kitchen, laundry and bathroom are the only plastics we can accept (see back page for more detail)
  • Continue to place clean paper, cardboard and cans in the yellow recycling bin
  • Rinse plastic bottles and containers and cans before putting them in your yellow recycling bin
  • Do not place other plastics such as plastic bags, meat trays, plastic packaging, films, buckets, coat hangers and toys in your yellow recycling bin
  • Do not place recyclables inside plastic bags
  • No polystyrene foam, food scraps or nappies

 

Why can’t I put glass in my recycle bin?

When glass breaks in the recycling bin it embeds in everything else - the paper, cardboard and plastics - making them unusable. The entire load is

contaminated and sent to landfill. Glass also causes problems during the sorting process and for paper and plastics re-manufacturers.

The collapse of international markets for Australia’s recyclables means we need to improve the quality of the recyclables we send to local manufacturers. Our recyclables need to be cleaner - the most efficient way to achieve this is to take glass out of our yellow recycling bins.

 

Where will I take my glass recyclables?

It is FREE to take glass to the Gillies Street Transfer Station. You do not need to pay or use a waste voucher.

This is one of several free glass drop-off sites around Ballarat.

Go to recyclingballarat.com for a detailed map of locations.

 

Why do other Councils have markets for glass and Ballarat doesn’t?

The massive stockpiles of glass around the state means there are no cost-effective, accessible local markets for all of Ballarat’s glass. Some other Councils had pre-existing contracts for their glass recyclables, many of these companies are now at capacity and cannot take on new contracts. Some Councils are sending their glass to landfill. Unfortunately, it’s cheaper for companies to import glass than to wash it, melt it down and make new product.

 

What can we do as a community?

You can ‘Pass on Glass’. This means you stop buying products in glass containers, reuse your glass, pass it on to people who will reuse it, or pass it on to Council at one of the free glass drop off points.

 

Will the collection day for my recycling bin stay the same?

Yes.

There will not be any change to the day your yellow recycling bin is collected. The time of your collection may change slightly as the result of route changes, so it’s important to put your bin out the night before. Remember, no glass in the recycling bin.

 

Why can’t the City of Ballarat collect our glass products separately why do we have to take glass to a community drop-off point?

Council does not want to burden ratepayers with an additional fee for another bin. The cost of providing another bin collection service for glass would add approximately $80 to the current annual household waste charge.

Council is hopeful that the policy framework being developed by the State Government around the Circular Economy Policy and associated Action Plan will result in a consistent approach to glass recycling across Victoria.

 

What will happen to the glass I take to a community drop-off point?

Glass dropped off by residents will be used by Council and local companies for research and development to find alternative uses for glass, new local markets for glass and to develop glass-based products for reuse in the community.

Council will work to secure State Government research and development funding to investigate new uses for recycled glass.

 

What happens if I fill my rubbish bin with glass and don’t have room for my other general rubbish?

If your rubbish bin is filling up fast, consider a compost bin. You will be surprised how much space is freed

up in your rubbish bin by removing kitchen food. Alternatively, you can take your glass to any free glass drop-off point.

 

Will this new system cost me more?

No, this system is at no additional cost to residents.

 

I don’t have any way of getting my glass to the community drop-off sites, I am physically unable to do this - what should I do?

Taking your glass to a free glass drop-off site is a totally voluntary approach to removing glass from your yellow recycling bins. Not everyone will have the capacity to store their glass at home and deliver it to a drop-off site. That’s ok. Anyone unable, or not wishing to take part in the free glass drop-off system can put their glass items in their rubbish bin, and it will go to landfill along with their other rubbish.

 

How is sending glass to landfill environmentally responsible?

Unfortunately, we have little choice. This situation has been forced on us. With so much change and uncertainty around the recycling sector, Council has developed this interim approach.

The option of taking your glass to a community drop-off site is designed to prevent as much glass as possible going to landfill.

Council is committed to reducing the amount of waste going to landfill. But until we can find new markets for our glass, this is the best, short-term alternative. Our priority is to ensure the volume and quality of our recycling is not reduced because of contamination caused by broken glass and other dirty waste.

 

What have we been doing with our recyclable material since SKM, our recycling contractor, collapsed?

Council has continued to collect recyclable materials and undertaken a short-term trial in partnership with local companies at an interim waste sorting facility in Wendouree, where we separated out glass from other recycled materials.

This model, while successful, is not financially sustainable on a long-term basis. That’s why the City of Ballarat is now making changes to how its collects glass recyclables.

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