What does progress towards a circular economy look like?

Monday 06 February 2023

Crushed aluminium cans

All local councils are required to introduce a 4-stream household waste service, under legislation introduced by the Victorian Government. This includes separate glass, recycling, food and green organics and rubbish services. 

This is an important and necessary step in developing our circular economy and diverting waste from landfill, but it comes at a significant cost.

In Yarra, we introduced a glass bin service in 2020, which has seen 90% of glass collected turned into new glass bottles and jars. We are aiming to introduce a food and green organics bin in 2024.

The full 4-stream service, under legislation introduced by the Victorian Government, is expected to cost Yarra around $5 million. This includes the cost of supplying new bins, standardising the colours, transporting the material, processing of material as well as community education. While the Victorian Government will provide some financial assistance (with an expected contribution of around 15% to 20%), most of the upfront and ongoing costs will be paid for by Council. 

Increases to the waste levy are also substantial. The levy has risen over 90% in the last 3 years, from $65.90 per tonne in 2020/21 to $125.90 per tonne in 2022/23. This increase is well above the amount councils can raise through rates alone, with the Victorian Government rate cap averaging 1.75% over the same period.

What is Yarra doing about it? 

We’re already taking steps to develop local recycling markets and support our community to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill. This includes:

  • Partnering with other councils to reduce costs, improve material recovery and recycling levels, and explore opportunities for creating shared recycling and food organics processing facilities in Melbourne. 
  • Working toward integrating circular economy principles into all the work we do, in line with Victorian Government circular economy legislation.
    • This includes working with industry to design items that last and can be shared, repaired, reused or recycled locally.

We’re also supporting our community to reduce and share products, reuse items where possible and recycle effectively. Our Zero Waste Map, which provides simple information on reducing, reusing, repairing and recycling, all in one place.

  • Working with our recycling processor, APR Plastics, supporting them to build technology for recycling soft plastics, such as shopping bags, frozen vegetable bags and bread packaging.
  • Our partnership with Composting Revolution, which means Yarra Residents can save up to 70% on compost bins and worm farms. 

Our Recycling Centre in Clifton Hill accepts a range of items for reuse including books, clothing and accessories, baby prams, toys and car seats. We also accept items that cannot be recycled at home including soft plastics (limited to 5 bags per drop off), polystyrene, cardboard, bike tyres, mobile phones, batteries, metal, light globes, paint and e-waste. You must be a Yarra resident to use our Recycling Centre. 

Learn more about how you can make the most of our Recycling Centre.


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