Skip bin tip fees could rise 400-500 per cent under proposed EPA changes

Plea for rethink: Jillian Mahoney says the changes would be devastating for their small skip bin business.
Plea for rethink: Jillian Mahoney says the changes would be devastating for their small skip bin business.

Skip bin tip fees could rise by 400-500 per cent under proposed state government changes, which include charging by weight rather than capacity.

The tip fee for a three cubic metre bin would rise from about $250 to $1200, with similar percentage rises for other sizes.

The price hike would severely impact a range of skip bin users, from home renovators to building and landscape contractors.

Small skip bin operators fear a big drop-off in business.

Gymea couple Matthew and Jillian Mahoney operate one such business, MCM Skip Bins, which has four trucks and seven staff.

Forty per cent of its customers are home owners who are moving, spring cleaning or carrying out small renovations, while another 40 per cent are builders, roofers and other trades who are sole traders or small operators.

Ms Mahoney said, at present, customers paid an upfront cost for a skip bin service but, if a tonnage rate was introduced, they would not know the cost until the bin was unloaded and have to trust they had been charged correctly.

The policy change results from a move by the Environment Protection Authority to improve the quality of recovered fines - a soil or sand substitute generated from the processing of construction and demolition waste - for reuse.

More stringent criteria for recycling will lead to more waste going to landfill, with higher fees.

The new recovered fines orders were due to be introduced in April but were deferred until June-July.

An EPA spokesman said the authority was consulting with industry and other stakeholders about changes aimed at improving the quality of the recovered fines for reuse.

"The EPA has conducted multiple reviews of recovered fines since 2013 and found significant levels of non-compliance by industry with the existing orders and exemptions," he said.

"While some improvements have been made, a high percentage of the industry has continued to fail to comply with the rules in place to protect human health and the environment.

"The latest review found that around half of the industry was producing a clean and high-quality recycled soil and was supplying this to the market as recovered fines."

The spokesman said, the EPA had listened to concerns raised by the construction industry and skip bin operators.

"The EPA will carefully consider how to minimise financial impacts to industry, in consultation with industry associations and the broader construction sector, while balancing the need for strong protection of human health and the environment."