YELLOW bins in Moyne Shire have not been successfully recycled for nearly 16 months, with the equivalent weight of about 765 Holden Commodores sent to landfill.
Moyne Shire Council's recycling contractor SKM collapsed in July last year, sending 600 tonnes of the shire's recycling to landfill for the remainder of the year while the council arranged new contracts and sped up plans for a fourth bin for glass.
The new glass-only purple bin has been successfully recycled since February.
But every load from the yellow bins, about 800 tonnes of mostly paper and plastic, has continued to go to the tip this year due to contamination.
The council's chief Bill Millard said this was because people have disposed of incorrect items, particularly glass, in the yellow bin and contaminated whole truckloads.
"Due to the changes in council's recycling contract, we are only collecting recyclables in the yellow bin that can be processed in Australia," he said.
"Just one yellow bin containing glass contaminates the whole truckload."
Plastic bags, food scraps, waxed cardboard and polystyrene are also among items that can't be recycled.
The council last week trialled sending recycling to a different processor to seek feedback on contamination and understand how much improvement was needed to meet recycling standards.
"This trial is aimed at getting feedback on contamination levels and advice on how these can be improved," Mr Millard said.
The council is yet to receive those results but has also launched a social media poll to determine if residents sort waste inside or outside at bins.
Environment and regulation manager Robert Gibson has previously stated that diverting recycling to landfill costs the council a similar amount to recycling it.
The council is continuing to send the majority of its recycling to Australian Paper Recovery (APR), which it has a contract with until 2022. APR was contacted for comment.
Meanwhile, Warrnambool City Council said its collector Wheelie Waste sent materials to processor Visy's Springvale facility, which had confirmed most contents were being correctly recycled.
"Visy has advised Wheelie Waste that the bulk of our recyclables are not going to landfill," a city spokesman said.
The council has resolved to roll out glass collection to all Warrnambool households, which has been postponed due to COVID-19 until March 2021.
The council spokesman said a 2018 audit showed contamination in yellow bins was around 15 per cent, much higher than the less than one per cent contamination it has in FOGO bins.
"Recyclables are more complex," he said.
"Despite years of promotion by local and state governments, plastic bags and soft plastics remain the number one contaminant in Victorian recycling bins."
He said new technology would make solving contamination issues easier.
"New recycling bins with radio frequency identification technology linked to cameras and a GPS in the collection vehicles will be the catalyst for reducing contamination of recyclables," the spokesman said.
"Recycling and glass bin inspections and a renewed education promotion are planned for the first half of 2021."
All glass in Moyne Shire and from Warrnambool City's free drop-off point at Cleanaway is currently going to Fulton Hogan for use in road making.
"Council laid its first 'glass road' when rehabilitating Walsh Road earlier this year," the Warrnambool City spokesman said.
"It is intended that the glass from our kerbside collection trial will be used in the local concreting industry.
"Council continues to be pro-active and is considering energy production and the creation of other commodities from waste as we aim for zero landfill."
The state government has mandated that a fourth bin for glass be rolled out to most Victorian residents by 2030.
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