National waste generation and resource recovery

NATIONAL WASTE REPORTING 2013
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This section provides an overview of national waste generation and resource recovery profiles and trends.

More detailed information is available in the fact sheet below.

Fact sheet

Overview

Key fact: Over the period 2006–07 to 2010–11, the resource recovery rate in Australia increased nine per cent - from 51 per cent to 60 per cent.

2010–11 waste generation1

In 2010–11 Australians on average generated 2.2 tonnes per capita of waste, 60 per cent of which was recycled or recovered for embodied energy. Inclusion of fly ash from coal fired power stations increases the average per capita waste generation by 28 per cent to 2.8 tonnes, with a resource recovery rate of 56 per cent. In total, Australians generated around 48 million tonnes (Mt) of waste excluding fly ash, and 62 Mt including fly ash (see Figure 1).

Figure 1 Australia total waste generation by management, 2010–11

Figure 1
 

Figure 2 illustrates the waste generation total for each jurisdiction, showing the tonnages by management and the recovery rates.

Figure 2 Australia waste generation by management by jurisdiction, 2010–11

Figure 2
 

Australian per capita trends, 2006–07 to 2010–11

Between 2006–07 and 2010–11:

  • Waste generation per capita in Australia was reasonably stable at around 2.1 tonnes per capita per year, with a small increase of 2.6 per cent over the period, or 0.6 per cent per year
  • The resource recovery rate in Australia increased from 51 per cent to 60 per cent (excluding fly ash)
  • Waste recycling per capita in Australia rose by around 20 per cent over the period, or 4.6 per cent per year.
  • Material used for producing energy from waste in Australia increased marginally from 60 kg to 70 kg per capita per year, or 8 per cent over the period, or 2.0 per cent per year.
  • Waste disposal in Australia decreased, falling from around 1.03 tonnes to around 0.88 tonnes per capita per year, representing a fall of around 15 per cent in four years, or 4.0 per cent per capita per year.

Figure 3 below shows per capita waste generation and management trends for the period 2006–07 to 2010–11.

Figure 3 Trends in per capita waste generation and management, 2006–07 to 2010–11

Figure 3
 

Note: Relies on: population-based backwards extrapolation for NT (06-07 – 09-10) and Qld (06-07); and interpolation for all jurisdictions (07-08) and NSW (09-10).

Australian total waste generation trends, 2006–07 to 2010–11

Between 2006–07 and 2010–11:

  • Australia continued to generate more waste as the population grew, with waste generation increasing from around 44 Mt to around 48 Mt per year, an increase of 9.1 per cent over in four years, or 2.2 per cent per year.
  • The total quantity of material recycled in Australia increased significantly from 21.4 Mt to 27.3 Mt per year, or by about 27 per cent in four years, or 6.3 per cent per year
  • Australia’s total energy recovery increased from about 1.32 Mt to 1.52 Mt per year, or by about 15 per cent over four years, or 3.6 per cent per year
  • Australia’s total disposal tonnage decreased from about 21.5 Mt to about 19.5 Mt per year, or by about 9 per cent over four years, or 2.5 per cent per year
  • The resource recovery rate in Australia increased from 51 per cent to 60 per cent between 2006–07 and 2010–11, an increase of 9 per cent.

Figure 4 below shows total waste generation and management trends for the period 2006–07 to 2010–11

Figure 4 Trends in total waste generation and management, 2006–07 to 2010–11

Figure 4
 

Relies on: population-based backwards extrapolation for NT (06-07 – 09-10) and Qld (06-07); and interpolation for all jurisdictions (07-08) and NSW (09-10).

For more information on:

  • per capita waste generation see the overview on state and territory waste generation and resource recovery data, the factsheets on jurisdictional waste profiles or Waste generation and resource recovery in Australia
  • national waste generation and resource recovery profiles and trends see Waste generation and resource recovery in Australia.

     

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About the data

Unless otherwise specified, waste generation and resource recovery data for this overview were sourced from Blue Environment and Randell Environmental Consulting’s Waste generation and resource recovery in Australia (2013). It is important to note that the data (from this report) will not always reconcile with publicly reported data from the states and territories. The differences in data result from differences in scope, method of compilation, and assumptions used in Waste generation and resource recovery in Australia. The workbooks provide transparency so that differences between the reported data sets can be reconciled if necessary.

The headline figures are based on hazardous waste data from Waste generation and resource recovery in Australia (2013). Additional sources on hazardous waste data indicate that hazardous waste generation in Australia for 2010–11 has been under-reported in this report. The Hazardous Waste Data Assessment is the current best estimate of hazardous waste generation, recovery and disposal available in Australia. It includes key amounts of hazardous waste (such as hazardous wastes that do not move across borders, liquid hazardous wastes, and hazardous wastes not reported in Waste generation and resource recovery in Australia). For more discussion see the overview on hazardous waste or the Hazardous Waste Data Assessment.


1 The content for this overview has been drawn from Waste generation and resource recovery in Australia (WGRRiA), 2013. Additional sources on hazardous waste data indicate that hazardous waste generation in Australia for 2010–11 has been under‑reported in WGRRiA data. The hazardous waste overview shows higher  hazardous waste generation in Australia of approximately 6.16 million tonnes in 2010–11, which suggests that overall waste generation is higher than shown here. More information on hazardous waste in Australia is provided in the hazardous waste overview and the Hazardous Waste Data Assessment.