Reopen transfer stations for all waste and recycling

The Victorian Waste Management Association (VWMA) is calling on the Victorian Government to open transfer stations and metals recycling to the public for all waste and recycling as soon as possible.

Currently, under the Victorian Government’s COVID roadmap for reopening transfer stations and metal recyclers remain open to commercial trade, while transfer stations are open to the public to receive green waste only. 

While the VWMA supports programs to protect communities from COVID, allowing the public to access important waste and recycling does not pose any additional COVID transmission risk, as transfer stations are already open to the public to receive green waste. In the case of metals recycling facilities, opening these facilities to the public will ensure an essential metals recycling can continue. These facilities are currently open to commercial customers only.

Currently restrictions allow for retail to remain open for the public to acquire essential goods. The VWMA advocates that transfer stations (both public and private) and recycling facilities provide an equally essential service – sanitation and recycling.

Further, the VWMA says transfer stations and recycling facilities pose a lower COVID transmission risk than retail. This is because these facilities are situated outside and do not require members of the public to be interact closely with operators or touch common objects.

Waste disposal is an important part of community sanitation, and regular home and workplace maintenance can create hazardous materials that are dangerous (including to children) if left around the home or workplace. These include; paint, solvents, batteries, glues adhesives, asbestos and asbestos containing materials, and sharp materials generated from home renovations and repair.

Further, large stockpiles of certain materials can pose a fire hazard, including cardboard, organics and timber. Certain materials represent a recycling opportunity, such as car bodies and other metals.

Finally, opening transfer stations and scrap yards to the public can assist with Victoria’s economic recovery by allowing green collar workers to resume their duties.

Comments attributable to VWMA CEO Peter Anderson:

Transfer stations have been accepting green waste for weeks, demonstrating they can operate with a COVID Safe plan in place, so there is no reason they shouldn’t be open to accept all other waste and recycling like cardboard and glass. It would make sense for these facilities to reopen now so that Victorians can dispose of packaging and other recyclable waste they have been stockpiling for weeks during lockdowns, and so that more workers at these facilities can return work, assisting to restore Victoria’s economy.