Another recycling ban adds to waste pinch

Angus Livingston
Melbourne's recycling crisis continues, with another company banned from accepting rubbish

Another Melbourne recycling company has been banned from taking rubbish as Australia faces an escalating battle to manage its waste.

The ban for Phoenix Environmental Group comes as liquidators sort through SKM Corporate's books to find out what the recycler owns and what can be done with the waste it has sitting at its now-defunct facilities.

Phoenix has been told to stop accepting waste at its Coolaroo facility - the third time Victoria's Environment Protection Authority has slapped a ban on the company.

The EPA's Danny Childs said Phoenix processes construction and demolition waste, including timber, plasterboard, foam, insulation, cardboard, plastic and metals.

"The company has failed for a third time to keep its stockpiles in check," Mr Childs said on Monday.

It's another blow for the sector after major player SKM Corporate was put into liquidation by Victoria's Supreme Court on Friday, leaving at least 30 councils' kerbside recycling programs in limbo.

The Victorian branch failed to secure a $13.5 million deal to pay off creditors and lawyers for the company consented to the liquidation.

SKM also faces insolvency in Queensland and it has faced pressure to remove more than 380 shipping containers of recyclable material from a suburban Adelaide site.

David Ross from Hall Chadwick said he is going through SKM Corporate's books to determine the company's assets and liabilities.

"The main thing I'm trying to deal with at the moment is dealing with the landlords, which are holding some of the council waste on site, and obviously meeting with the EPA in respect to that as well," Mr Ross told AAP.

He said the 15 employees of SKM Corporate were transferred to another entity prior to his involvement, but he only has responsibility for one division of a larger group of companies.

Victoria's Environment Minister Lily D'Ambrosio labelled SKM a "rogue cowboy operator" following a series of fires and stockpiling problems at its plants.

She announced a deal had been struck with other recycling processors to handle 40 per cent of the SKM workload, but declined to say which operators had stepped in or what the cost would be to taxpayers.

Australia's recycling sector has also been hit by China's refusal to accept material and Malaysia's turn-back of waste, claiming it hasn't been properly sorted.

Victorian Opposition Leader Michael O'Brien said the state had not had a waste management policy for five years.

"This is despite the Andrews Labor government holding over $500 million of taxpayers' money in bin taxes that are collected to fix this exact problem," he said.