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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage

17 January 2001

Australians deliver the goods with recycling

A comprehensive new study of recycling in this country has confirmed Australians are making a multi-million-dollar contribution to the environment each year by kerbside recycling.

The report, An Independent Assessment of Kerbside Recycling in Australia, was commissioned by industry and government through the National Packaging Covenant and launched today by Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill.

The internationally significant study shows benefits from kerbside recycling extend far beyond avoided land fill and identifies substantial environmental savings in greenhouse gas emissions and preservation of natural resources.

"Australians should be congratulated for their commitment to recycling and to the environment," Senator Hill said. "This study shows what the community has known intuitively and practiced week in and week out since kerbside schemes were introduced around the country over the past ten years."

The study, conducted by environmental consultants Nolan-ITU and SKM Economics, measured the financial, environmental and social costs and benefits of recycling, and translated the environmental impacts into dollar terms to provide a guide to the scale of these benefits.

The study found that while Australia's kerbside recycling systems cost on average around $26 per household per year, the environmental benefits were notionally almost three times as large.

Drawing on information from about 200 metropolitan and regional councils across Australia, representing 12 million Australians, the report estimated household recycling delivers around $266 million each year of environmental, economic and social benefits to the nation. Currently around 800,000 tonnes of materials are recycled annually from households.

"The success of kerbside recycling comes from the support and commitment of the community and I am proud of our recycling achievements," Senator Hill said. Senator Hill also voiced his support for the National Packaging Covenant - a voluntary agreement between industry and all spheres of government to reduce packaging waste. The covenant is funded by contributions from industry and State governments and the Federal Government's Natural Heritage Trust.

The report is available at

January 17, 2000

Media contacts:
Belinda Huppatz (Senator Hill's office) 02 6277 7640 or 0419 258 364
Matthew Warren for Mr Gavin Williams (Packaging Council of Australia) 0417 489654
Councillor Bob Beynon (Municipal Association of Victoria) 03 9888 8488
Mr Graeme Head (NSW Environment Protection Authority) 02 9995 5811

Commonwealth of Australia