One of Western Victoria's pre-eminent waste bodies wants to see recycling processed in or closer to the Wimmera.
Grampians Central West Waste and Resource Recovery executive officer La Vergne Lehmann said it was difficult to get companies to bid for waste contracts in their area.
"The waste business is a numbers game, and we have low population," she said.
"We don't have any processing in our region at the moment: All the recycling in this region goes to either Geelong or Melbourne, so by being able to offer a larger quantity altogether, it opens up the opportunity for local businesses to expand their operations should they want to, or new players can come in and look at the possibility of coming into this region.
"There are not a large number of operators in the region at the moment, but each council will continue to hold their own contracts on this. There are some good opportunities for local businesses to expand on what they are already doing, and I know councils are happy to support jobs growth in this sense."
Grampians Central West Waste and Resource Recovery covers 12 councils between Bacchus Marsh and the South Australian border. Ms Lehmann said any processing centre was likely to be in Ballarat.
"It's still a big advantage for Wimmera councils if they only have to transport it that far. There are opportunities for manufacturing to use that product too."
It comes after local government minister Adem Somyurek on Friday extended support for councils working together to create recycling service contracts for another 12 months, until June 2021.
The organisation is currently working to get one company to provide collection services across eight councils, including Horsham, West Wimmera, Hindmarsh, Yarriambiack, Northern Grampians and Ararat.
"This will make it easier for councils to negotiate better deals with processors, because they can do it collectively, which is particularly important for smaller councils," Ms Lehmann said.
"But it also gives them a greater level of transparency to what their costs are going to be and how they can change when resource markets change."
Mick Parry has been the director of Rainbow waste collection Wimmera-Mallee Waste for 20 years.
He said the business did West Wimmera, Hindmarsh, Yarriambiack and Glenelg Shires' kerbside collections and had considered offering waste processing in the past.
"There are a few challenges surrounding that, one of them is the volumes of waste we get in our area," he said.
"It's also a bit tough that there are not many players in each different section of the recycling market, not a lot of people buying glass or plastics, so it's always worried me the market can be manipulated very quickly if you're competing against bigger companies."
"We certainly think there is space for regional sorting facilities. "The recycling we collect we store at sheds either in Horsham or Portland, and then that is transported in a semi-trailer to Melbourne for sorting at SKM Recycling.
"So there's an advantage in sorting regionally in that you're not wasting freight, but it's a tricky market to get in I reckon."
Mr Parry said around 20 per cent of things people put in their recycling bins didn't belong there, such as nappies and green waste. He said there would also be value in large waste players setting up shop in the Wimmera.
"One of the problems SKM has had in the last three months is that the EPA's been shutting them down because they've been storing too much material on site," he said.
"We've got the advantage regionally of land not having the same value per square metre so there is an advantage there."
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