By Luke Voogt
Geelong residents will get new purple-lidded bins for glass in a state government plan to reduce waste going to landfill by 80 per cent.
Mayor Stephanie Asher welcomed the changes that Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced on Monday, including a new container deposit scheme by 2023.
“The introduction of a container deposit scheme is something we have been calling on for over a year,” she said.
“This, along with the other changes, will hopefully result in significant improvements to our recycling system, and we look forward to hearing more details about how the programs will be rolled out.”
Cr Asher stressed the reforms would require a “strong education campaign” to promote the changes and help residents recycle and reuse products.
“However, given our community is passionate about recycling and doing everything we can to protect the environment, I’m sure this shift will be achievable,” she said.
Mr Andrews and Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio announced $129 million of initiatives including the new fourth bin.
Under the changes bin lids will be purple for glass, green for food and garden organics, yellow for plastic, metal and paper, and red for household waste.
Collecting the glass separately would ensure more effective recycling, with jars and bottles to be transformed multiple times into products including new roads and footpaths, a government spokesperson said.
The roll-out of the new bins will start next year and occur gradually, based on the needs of local communities and existing council contracts, they said.
But Australian Industry Group and free market think tank, the Institute of Public Affairs, both warned the four bins would lead to higher rates or fewer bin pick-ups.
The institute’s Evan Mulholland accused Ms D’Ambrosio of “conscripting citizens” into “unpaid rubbish sorter(s)” while describing the new bin as a “waste of time, money and space”.
“Many Victorians just don’t have the room to store yet another bin,” he said.
Meanwhile, Geelong plastic will go to a new pellet facility in Albury-Wodonga, which proponents believe will process up to 28,000 tonnes.
The facility would use plastic from Geelong, a City Hall spokesperson confirmed.
Cleanaway Waste Management, which acquired recycler SKM’s Victorian assets after it went bankrupt, signed an agreement with Asahi Beverages and Pact Group Holdings for the facility last Wednesday.
Cleanaway will provide materials through its collection and while Asahi and Pact will buy the majority of the recycled pellets to use in packaging.
Proponents anticipate the facility to be operational by December 2021. NSW Government supported the project through an environmental grant to Cleanaway.