With the Federal Government now actively involved in the waste recycling space, the Minister for the Environment and Member for Farrer Sussan Ley was in Mildura this week where she toured the site for the planned glass recycling plant at the Mildura Landfill which is set to be up and running by late 2022.

The total project cost is $973,000. The Victorian and Australian Governments have together committed $228,750. Mildura Rural City Council is contributing the remaining funding.

Ms Ley was accompanied by Member for Mallee Dr Anne Webster, and the two also visited Integrated Recycling’s Etiwanda Avenue plant where plastic film waste from the horticulture sector is used to make railway sleepers.

“I always like to visit colleagues who have got the same level of passion when it comes to waste as I do,” Minister Ley said.

“And, Anne Webster is certainly in that category as someone who understands our recycling agenda.
“We haven’t had the Commonwealth step into waste before. We’ve ramped it right up. We’ve generated a billion dollar transformation of our waste industry with our $680 million dollar, Recycling Modernisation Fund.
“I was determined with representations from rural and regional members like Anne, that we ensure our facilities won’t just be in the city because a lot of waste gets moved from Mildura and ends up in Melbourne.
“And it’s not just about waste being moved in trucks on the road, it’s about processing it where it is, which makes sense.”

Minister Ley said that the key thing for all of agenda is that clean streams of waste have value.

“You can’t consider anything that is associated with waste processing without getting something at the end of that, which is actually worth something to someone.
“And that’s the critical thing about this glass processing plant which will come here, courtesy of our Recycling Modernisation Fund.
“Glass is infinitely recyclable. You can put it in road base, you can make it into more glass, you can separate it into its different colours, you can wash it, and we are going to see all of that taking part here in Mildura.”

Minister Ley said with the introduction of the CDS (Container Deposit Scheme) in Victoria that will feed bottles into the glass recycling facility.

“I’m cracking the whip,” she said. It’s obviously up to the Victorian Government and the Minister has said this scheme is going to be up and running by 2023,” she said.

“The sooner the better − because we’ve got a CDS in New South Wales − and so that means you have difficulties on the border with one state having it and one not. When Victoria’s CDS is in place, we are genuinely going to see a lot more recycling for value.”

Dr Webster said that the project was good an example of three tiers of government working together.

“We can achieve so much when all three levels of government work together and this particular issue impacts every resident in Mildura,” she said.

“It is something that all of us can be part of the solution to waste management going forward. “I am super-keen to see industry in the recycling space grow here and this is really the first step in addition to Integrated Plastics Recycling who do a phenomenal job and we are visiting their plant as well, this is incredibly important and I’m so pleased that the Council is so closely involved in this.
“And also for the Federal Government, who haven’t been in this space before, and I am really pleased that we are, and I note the Minister’s passion for protecting our environment and being proactive about what that means and this is another step in that.”

Minister Ley said that people don’t mind being educated about how to deal with their waste.

“They are very happy to participate in recycling,” she said.

“There is no sense of push-back or questioning why they are having to do this and that is very encouraging and I know that Mildura residents are no different they actually want the confidence that what they put in their recycling bin gets recycled.”