Slow burn: Calls for long-term solutions as recycling crisis drags on

Incinerating waste to produce energy could be among long-term solutions the region needs to consider as a recycling crisis unfolds, Warrnambool City Council CEO Bruce Anson says.

Mr Anson made the comments in light of changes to China’s importation of recyclable materials, which has had a knock-on effect on south-west councils including Warrnambool, Corangamite and Moyne.

Last week he said councils still had no idea what would happen to recycling from kerbside collections, and called for state government assistance using landfill levy funds.

Mr Anson said economically viable, long-term solutions for recycling needed to be considered, including both the possibility of finding other markets for recyclable materials or setting up infrastructure to process them, such as incinerating them to produce energy.

In Sweden, 50 per cent of household waste is burnt to produce energy.

Councils are encouraging people to keep recycling, with Moyne Shire saying pressures on the recycling industry were not impacting its operations.

“We ask residents to continue recycling as normal,” a statement from the shire said.

South West Coast MP Roma Britnell said she was concerned decades of community education about the benefits of recycling would be undone if recycling went into landfill.

She called for the state government to use the money collected through levies to “fix” the problem.