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Vic councils slowly return to recycling

Six Victorian councils are again sending their waste to recycling instead of heading to the tip, as the state crawls back from a crippling waste crisis.

The Brimbank, Moonee Valley, Hobsons Bay, Port Phillip, Nillumbik and Melbourne councils are back to sending footpath recycling to the state's largest processing plant, after months of diverting it to landfill.

SKM's Laverton North site is "back and fully operational" while its Coolaroo site is yet to return to business, Environment Minister Lily D'Ambrosio said on Monday.

"At Coolaroo they are making some significant progress in cleaning up those materials - they were far more contaminated," she said, hoping it would be just a few more weeks.

"That site has its own challenges, which the receivers are now going through and getting it back to a point where it can be fully operational."

This site had been the source of a fire in 2017, which prompted a class action.

In the Supreme Court on Monday, Justice John Dixon handed down a judgement into how to divide the $1.2 million class-action settlement into the Coolaroo site fire in 2017.

The reboot of the sector has been pushed along by a $10 million state government loan to SKM's receivers KordaMentha.

Some of the 33 councils are negotiating with the receivers to resume recycling of curbside materials, while others have opted for alternative providers, Ms D'Ambrosio said.

"We hope as the days go by, we will have more reports of councils joining in with a return of their curbside collection going to recycling facilities," she said.

While Ms D'Ambrosio would not reveal if there were buyers for the company, she confirmed there had been a "healthy response from the market" for SKM's facilities.

SKM had previously been ordered to stop accepting waste by the state's environmental watchdog over safety concerns about waste stockpiles and fire risk.

The company collapsed in August, owing more than $100 million to creditors.

KordaMentha switched SKM's Laverton North site back online in September after clearing 10,000 tonnes of non-recyclable waste from the site.

Ms D'Ambrosio on Monday also spruiked the government's $1.6 million towards research projects into an end market for the goods, while institutions such as University of Melbourne and Deakin University stump up a further $3.4 million in projects.

The state government also launched a six-week campaign, asking the public to call WorkSafe if they hear, see or smell suspected dangerous goods in their neighbourhoods, an issue which has also seen multiple warehouse fire across Melbourne.

© AAP 2019