The City of Ballarat's contract with Australian Paper Recycling will expire soon - so what will happen to our recycling?
The original contract with the Truganina-based facility was signed in 2019, which led to the glass-free recycling regime residents have become used to.
At the time, all glass was to be removed from recycling, however the material that went to the facility was able to be turned into new products like egg cartons and pallets.
Council has repeatedly urged residents not to contaminate the recycling bin with material, however according to infrastructure and environment director Bridget Wetherall, about 2500 tonnes has still contaminated recycling in the past two years.
She said in a statement no loads have been rejected, as the contamination is removed through the sorting process, but it still doesn't stop glass.
"The contract with APR is due to expire and is going through the normal procurement process," she said.
"We know it is important to keep glass separate from other recyclables.
"Separation minimises glass fragments damaging other products, such as paper, and provides a source separated glass recyclable product."
Right now, council is conducting an online survey with residents, through its MySay page, about their recycling habits, and the reviews are being conducted across the whole council.
"Every council in Victoria is required to develop a Kerbside Transition Plan to a four-bin service involving general waste, mixed recyclables, separate glass and food organics-garden organics," Ms Wetherall said.
"The waste services team is in the process of service reviews as it explores avenues to engage in the circular economy and will continue to explore what the best way to manage glass in the future as we develop our plan."
There are no dates for when more bins will be provided to residents.
Nor are there plans for hard rubbish kerbside pickup in Ballarat, as many other councils have - instead, residents are urged to drop hard rubbish, and especially electronic waste, off at transfer stations.
"Kerbside hard waste pickups come at a great cost to residents and contamination in our recycling loads is not typically the types of material collected through a hard waste service," Ms Wetherall added.
Have you been chucking timber, pipes, hoses, or textiles in the recycling bin?
Council says stop it - it could make your waste bills cost more.
Cracking down on "DIY waste" - that includes the above, as well as soft plastics unsuitable for recycling, porcelain, and eWaste - the City of Ballarat is urging people to take more care to keep yellow bins uncontaminated.
In a media release, council said that sort of waste can be taken to the Ballarat Transfer Station, and every household should have received vouchers in the mail to drop off up to one cubic metre for free.
The only things that should go in yellow bins are rinsed plastic bottles and containers from the kitchen, bathroom, or laundry; rinsed aluminium cans and trays; clean paper, and cardboard.
Glass still needs to be taken to a Pass on Glass skip bin, which are scattered across town.
Food waste, batteries, and plastic bags wrapped around recyclable material is also unsuitable for the yellow bin, as well as any electrical waste - that includes toys.
IN THE NEWS
According to a media release, recycling bin contamination - that is, having stuff that isn't recyclable put in a recycling bin - has risen to 20 to 25 per cent during the pandemic, up from about 15 per cent. Council's aim is to reduce this level to five per cent. It warned high contamination rates could affect the contract pricing for recycling in the future.
Councillor Belinda Coates said in a statement cutting down contamination was an easy step towards a more circular economy. "We can all do our part by ensuring we keep our recycling bins free of our DIY project waste."
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