BENDIGO could follow a neighbouring council's lead and roll out another kerbside bin if the state heeds calls for glass-only collections.
The government should foot all Victorian councils' bills to start glass-only collections in a bid to stop broken shards contaminating entire loads of recycling, a wide-ranging report into Victoria's waste management crisis has found.
Macedon Ranges residents are already moving to a four-bin system and will start monthly glass and green waste collections in the new year, director assets and operations Shane Walden said.
"Results of a six month trial of a glass-only bins in Lancefield, which started in August, have been encouraging," he said.
Statewide glass collection is among the 43 recommendations of a parliamentary inquiry triggered by China's decision to refuse recycling and the collapse of processing company SKM.
Modern glass bottles' walls are too thin to mix with other recycled goods without breaking, industry figures including those servicing central Victorians told the inquiry.
"You try and buy a stubby now and they are all thin," Bendigo materials recovery centre operator Simon Mackie was quoted as saying by the report's authors.
"When we put that into a truck it just smashes. It smashes."
Recycling company Visy's Richard Macchiesi told the inquiry glass caused a number of issues.
"It gets into the MRF (materials recycling facility), then it is swished around and goes through the process, and sometimes shards of glass just cannot be removed from the cardboard, so contamination levels go up," he said.
Yet the committee noted some councils' reservations about glass-only bins.
A number of those collecting glass had stopped short of kerbside pick-ups out of concerns about extra costs to ratepayers.
They had instead set up public drop-off points.
"The costs associated with the introduction of a separate bin for municipal glass recycling may be considerable," the report stated.
"However ... it may be possible to mitigate these costs through a change in pickup frequency for other bins."
"Any possible mitigation in costs may vary between local government areas depending on their existing collection frequencies."
One council in the state's northwest told the inquiry it foresaw greenhouse gas problems if extra trucks needed to be brought in - something the inquiry found would need to be taken into account if such schemes were widely introduced.
The inquiry concluded that the benefits of kerbside bins would outweigh costs and urged governments to fund a glass-bin roll-out and to further research their costs and benefits.
Its report also urged the government to introduce a container deposit scheme in Victoria, which it said is the only state without one.
The inquiry found deposit schemes in other states had "substantially contributed to litter reduction".
"Any proposed container deposit scheme should include widely accessible collection points, including in regional Victoria, for example in supermarkets and petrol stations," it stated.
Other recommendations from the inquiry included ways to reduce waste and problems associated with stockpiling, educate the public about managing recycling, and designating it as an essential service.
The recycling crisis has been challenging, for industry, government and especially local councils and the public, committee chair Cesar Melhem said.
"This report provides an opportunity for systemic change," he said.
While a number of central Victorian councils contacted by the Bendigo Advertiser, including Macedon Ranges, are yet to fully digest the findings in today's report, many used previous submissions to air frustrations about the crisis and the need for state and federal governments to do more.
The Macedon Ranges Shire was among councils hit hard by the collapse of SKM and was one of 33 forced to find new facilities for its recycling.
It described the recycling system as "neglected and out-of-date" in its submission.
Mount Alexander Shire's noted China had been signalling its intent to ban recycling imports for years.
"And the other countries to which we are now exporting our waste are doing the same. So no, the problem has not been dealt with," it read.
The City of Greater Bendigo noted it had been forced to pass on costs of dealing with the crisis to its ratepayers.
"Earlier communication would have allowed better budget planning, informed contract negotiation and earlier implementation of community education strategies," its submission stated.
The state government now has six months to respond to the inquiry's recommendations.
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