Recycling a focus in 18/19 operating budget

Published on 10 April 2018


The impact of China changing the standard for receiving recycled material is a key area of focus in the development of the Council’s 2018/19 operating budget.

In the 2017/18 financial year, Benalla Rural City produced 1562 tonnes of recycled material.

In late 2017, China announced it would stop taking "foreign garbage" — including the 600,000 tonnes annually of low quality recyclable materials from Australia.

Recycling in Benalla Rural City is collected by Cleanaway. It is then delivered to the JJ Richards processing plant in Wangaratta which removes contamination, such as non-allowable items, to improve overall quality. JJ Richards then on-sell the material to domestic and international markets.

Historically China allowed up to 10% contamination in bales and this is now required to be less than 0.5% contamination.

Mayor, Cr Don Firth said this is a hugely complex issue.

“Because of the speed at which this has happened and the potential financial impact this can have on the individuals who produce recycled material, we need to find an immediate and longer-term solution,” he said.

“This is having a direct and indirect impact on nearly all Councils across Victoria and it is something we are working on, particularly as we consider the 2018/19 operating budget.”