An application for a recycling plant in Melbourne to remain open an additional 15 years has been rejected by the local council for the second time.
Alex Fraser’s Clarinda plant, which has capacity to recycle up to one million tonnes of glass into construction materials every year, is due to close in 2023 at the expiry of its licence. Kingston City Council has rejected the company’s application to extend that licence to 2038.
According to Peter Murphy, managing director of Alex Fraser, the move has clear negative implications on resource recovery in Victoria.
“Kingston City Council’s decision is at odds with Victoria’s Recycling Industry Strategic Plan, which aims to stabilise the recycling industry and provide access to markets.
“It also goes against everything the State Government is doing to secure reliable supply of construction material for the ‘Big Build’,” he said.
Murphy said that, should Clarinda be shut down, it will have consequences not just on recycling but on the supply of materials for infrastructure projects, increasing cost to taxpayers.
“At a time where there’s so much talk about the recycling crisis, it’s important to remember that Victoria has long led the way in using recycled materials to build its infrastructure.
“This site is an outstanding example of the circular economy in action, and the Victorian State Government must intervene to retain this recycling capacity,” he said.
The site was rezoned four years ago in an effort to create a “green wedge” of parklands for residents, and Kingston mayor Georgina Oxley pointed out that Victorian Planning Minister Richard Wynne had banned new waste and recycling facilities in green wedge areas while allowing existing operators to stay on until the end of their permits.
“Kingston’s residents have made it clear that they feel they have put up with the waste industry located on their doorstep in the Kingston Green Wedge for far too long.
“Alex Fraser has known for four years they would need to find a new location, and the Victorian Government has been working with them to find alternatives. They still have another four years to find a suitable site that will ensure both the company’s long-term success and an end to waste-related activities in the Green Wedge,” she said.
Murphy has said Alex Fraser will appeal the decision to VCAT, and that no suitable alternative site has thus far been found.