A major Australian recycling company has gone belly up in Victoria owing millions of dollars, in the latest blow to the beleaguered national waste sector.
Liquidators have been appointed to SKM Recycling after Victoria's Supreme Court on Friday agreed to an application by more than a dozen creditors to wind up the company.
"In the absence of a significant cash injection ... it is clear the defendant cannot raise sufficient funds to pay its debts," Judicial Registrar Julian Hetyey said.
The liquidation in Victoria leaves at least 30 local councils' kerbside recycling programs in limbo, while 300 employees are set to lose their jobs.
SKM also faces insolvency in Queensland, where similar court action is afoot, and the company has faced pressure to remove more than 380 shipping containers of recyclable material from a suburban Adelaide site.
The company last month asked to be allowed to continue operating in Victoria as it worked on a $13.5 million deal with an investor so creditors could be paid.
But the company's barrister Reegan Morison said on Friday no deal been reached and the company was not in a position to oppose the wind-up application.
"The funds have not been received as hoped," she said.
"The financial position of the company remains the same."
Tasman Logistics, owed $3.35 million, led the legal action against SKM. Another 15 creditors are owed more than a combined $2.2 million.
The court was told SKM held little or no realisable assets.
Creditor Marwood Construction said it had nowhere to put 10,000 tonnes of recyclable waste stored at its Derrimut warehouse and awaiting processing by SKM.
"Where are we going to move it to? Are we going to put it in a hole in the ground?" the company's Carly Whitington told reporters outside court.
She said the company was still calculating how much it was owed by SKM.
"I know SKM were trying, it's up to the government to step in and fix the problem now," Ms Whitington said.
Victoria's Environment Minister Lily D'Ambrosio labelled SKM a "rogue cowboy operator" following a series of fires and stockpiling problems at its plants.
The state's environmental watchdog has issued the company with multiple bans on accepting waste over repeated regulatory breaches.
Last week, Ms D'Ambrosio announced a deal had been struck with other recycling processors to handle 40 per cent of the SKM workload. She declined to say which operators had stepped in or what the cost would be to taxpayers.
The liquidator and Victorian government have been contacted for comment.
SKM's collapse comes a day after the company reached a $1.2 million settlement in a class action over a 2017 fire at its Coolaroo plant in Melbourne's north.
Victorians affected by recent factory fires - including at Bradbury Industrial Services' Campbellfield's facility earlier this year - are expected to speak at a parliamentary inquiry next Tuesday.
More broadly, Australia's recycling sector has been hit by China's refusal to accept material and Malaysia's turn-back of waste, claiming it hasn't been properly sorted.
Australian Associated Press