Go back

Recycling Initiatives In Victoria

Recycling Initiatives In Victoria
By Simon Williams
March 22, 2020

Recycling is a hot topic in any country of the world, and potentially more so in Australia with the recent changes dictated by China no longer accepting foreign waste. Many could argue that Australia has been late to the mark with recycling initiatives and establishing any kind of contingency plan, but Victoria leads the country in its innovations to date, with commercial and residential initiatives shaking up stagnant processes. Let’s take the time to recap what we have seen in recent years, and what other states can take away from these plans. 

The six-bin system planned for Victoria

Victoria will soon welcome a six-bin system, which will aggregate different waste types so that they can be processed correctly and stand a better chance of being recycled. The respective coloured bins will collect paper (grey), glass (red), organics (green), plastic (purple), metal (blue) and other (orange). The colourful bins are expected to be rolled out in the following years and be in motion by 2030, although the government is yet to articulate how this will work with homes and apartment blocks, and whether some will be communal or assigned to a specific property. It is also yet to be decided how frequent these bins would be collected, although there should be more information about this $129mil initiative soon, with small regions like Hobson Bay Council already testing the idea with a four bin system.

This practical idea has been a response to China’s aforementioned decision, as Australia is now tasked with managing the recycling at a state level, which includes sorting waste. Sorting waste is an expensive and time-consuming practice, and contaminated waste can be rendered damaged, eliminating the chance of an effective reuse and the opportunity for commercial gain. This amendment will now ease the burden for those receiving this waste, allowing for precious materials to enter the production line again without delay, and incurring the cost of using virgin materials when recycled options could have sufficed.

Why is it important that these materials separated, and how can we see them recycled?

Here at CartridgesDirect, we have seen the benefit of recycling first hand, with a number of printing cartridges making their way into Victorian roads or back to the production line for another chance at printing technology. In that same vein, household waste can be repurposed into items and materials that can improve our community and reduce landfill at the same time. Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, demonstrated this concept when he explained how the lifecycle of these different waste types.

Glass waste is particularly precious, with glass bottles and jars able to be recycled into many things, including roads and footpaths in new and existing suburbs of Victoria. Similarly, plastics should also be separated so that sorters at the recycling plan cant easily discern what is valuable and what is not, rather than having to waste a bin of potential recyclables as it’s mixed with organic waste that should have found their way into the green bin.

The Labor government is also in discussion about starting a container deposit scheme, which means that the Victorian public is rewarded by compensation when they return their glass or plastic containers. This has been around for many decades sure, but the government is looking at this initiative with fresh eyes by expanding the program to ideally create more jobs and strengthen the resolve of the community to contribute to recycling.

Who can we be inspired by in this mission to recycle?

Victoria may be ahead of the other states in Australia, but we can still learn from leaders around the world and use their innovations as a yardstick in which to measure our own success and creativity in this space. There are a couple of countries who orbit that top spot for best recyclers in the world, and as of this time, Germany is the frontrunner with the highest recycling rate of 56-68%! Austria is a close second, then followed by South Korea, Wales and then Switzerland. Ideally, we would like to see China and the United States in those top spots in the future, as they are the countries who generate the most municipal waste and should respect the responsibility that comes with.

This is just one of many initiatives, although it is one of the most radical and yet practical that we have seen in recent decades. Like any statewide initiative, we rely upon the community to do the right thing so that we can do our part as Victorians.