Supporting councils to respond to SKM’s temporary closure

MWRRG has been supporting councils to respond to the temporary closure of major recycling facilities operated by SKM Services. SKM has contracts with 33 councils across Victoria. During July, SKM and associated glass recycling facility, GRS, have been subject to Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) actions to cease accepting material.

SKM’s Laverton North site was not able to accept recyclable material from 11 July to 13 July. On 26 July SKM told councils it would not accept material at any of its sites because of its inability to process glass at its GRS glass facility.

On both occasions EPA’s actions were taken to reduce potential risk to human health and the environment posed by stockpiles of recyclable waste material at the site and follow several regulatory notices to clean up operations at SKM’s Laverton North and Coolaroo sites.

SKM has also been party to legal proceedings in the Supreme Court as creditors seek to recover $4.3 million or an order to declare the company insolvent. On 24 July the Supreme Court gave SKM 10 days to find a buyer and repay its debts.

SKM’s decision to close its doors on Friday 27 July meant that most of its contracted councils had no other options but to send recyclable material to landfill whilst continuing kerbside collections for households. This is an unfortunate but unavoidable outcome of SKM shutting its doors. Sending recyclable material to landfill is a last resort that all councils take very seriously.

Throughout this period MWRRG has been in daily contact with affected councils, state government, the Municipal Association of Victoria and other recycling service providers to assess their capacity to take extra recyclables, and divert as much as safely possible away from landfill.

MWRRG is progressing plans for new collaborative procurements for recycling services, working with 11 council clusters comprising more than 60 councils across the state.

By councils working together, larger contracts will be offered to the industry to encourage investment in recycling infrastructure and technology, and to attract new candidates to the Victorian recycling sector.

Industry will be asked to provide an expression of interest on the collaborative procurements in August with detailed submissions expected by the end of the year. Contracts are expected to be in place by June 2020.


Last updated: 27/08/2019