What impact will China's recent decision to ban imports of recyclables have on Yarra?

There has been a lot of interest in the recent changes to China’s recycling policy and the impact it may have on Yarra.

Yarra is not affected by these changes at this stage. In the short-to-medium term, our recycling will continue to be collected and processed as usual, but there are some things we need to look at in the future.

Much of the recycling collected from households is sold to China to be processed and made into other products.

In January this year, China announced it needed a better standard of recyclable materials and would pay less for recycling that is `contaminated’ - in other words, recycling that is mixed in with non-recyclable materials, like plastic bags, food and liquids.

As part of our contract with recycling company Visy, our recycling continues to be collected and processed as normal. At this stage, there has been no extra cost to Council or our ratepayers, but we will need to continue to monitor the wider impact of these changes and respond accordingly.

About 30% of the 10,000 tonnes of recycling collected each year from Yarra’s homes is processed locally and made into paper and cardboard products. The remainder is exported. None is sent to landfill.

We’re working with other levels of government to find a long term solution. One answer is to develop a local industry for processing recycling so Australia can make its own products and reduce our reliance on overseas markets. This will require commitment from a range of stakeholders, including State Government.

We can all play our part too by being mindful of the products we buy and recycling the right way to reduce contamination in the bin.

Here’s how you can help:

  • Don’t put plastic bags or soft plastics (like cling wrap) in the recycling.
  • Food crumbs and oil stains on things like pizza boxes are okay, but big pieces of food aren’t recyclable.
  • Empty plastic drink bottles and milk containers.
  • Keep your recycling loose in the recycling bin. For example, putting aluminium tins inside cardboard boxes means the items are hard to separate in the recycling process.
  • • Avoid waste in the first place!

Reduce the amount of material that goes to recycling by avoiding products that come in unnecessary packaging, and by using reusable water bottles and coffee cups.

For more tips on recycling, visit yarracity.vic.gov.au/waste

For more information about what happens to your recycling, visit yarracity.vic.gov.au/recycled