Australia is a developed country that is surprisingly facing a crisis on waste generation and recycling. There is no denying that we are one of the biggest producers of rubbish in the world. According to the National Waste Report 2018, we produced approximately 67 million tonnes of wastes in 2016-17. Of that amount, around 32 million tonnes were recycled while a whopping 22 million tonnes of rubbish ended up in landfills.
Australia’s Waste Generation By Material Category
Masonry materials represented the largest volume (17.1 Mt) of the rubbish we generated in 2016-17. It was followed by organic wastes (14.2 Mt), ash (12.3 Mt), and hazardous waste (6.3 Mt) which were mostly contaminated soil. The volume of paper and cardboard materials (5.6 Mt) and metals (5.5 Mt) we generated did not differ much. Plastic wastes amounted to approximately 2.5 Mt while glass wastes equalled to 1.1 Mt.
Recycling by Material Category
Metals (90%) remain the highest recycled item in 2016-2017. Masonry materials (72%), paper and cardboard (60%), glass (57%), and organic wastes (52%) all have a recycling rate above 50%. On the contrary, the recycling rates for ash and hazardous wastes were only at 43% and 27%, respectively. Plastic wastes are the most problematic. We generate 2.5 Mt of plastics, yet we only recycle 12% of that amount. That means 87% of plastic rubbish collected was disposed of in landfills.
Australia’s Waste Generation According to Waste Stream
Of the total amount of rubbish generated in 2016-17, about 54 Mt were considered ‘core waste.’ Municipal solid waste amounted to 13.8 Mt with a 20% recycling rate. Commercial and industrial (C&I) waste stream and construction and demolition (C&D) waste stream tied at 20.4 Mt. C&D is the waste stream with the highest recycling rate at 43%, followed by C&I materials with 37% recycling rate.
Australia’s Waste Generation By Region
New South Wales produced the most waste amongst the regions in Australia. The territory generated more than 18 Mt of waste in 2016-17. Next to NSW is Victoria (13.7 Mt), followed by Queensland (11.2 Mt), West Australia (5.2 Mt), and South Australia (4 Mt). The Australian Capital Territory, Tasmania, and Northern Territory were amongst the least producers of rubbish in the country. ACT generated around 941 kT of rubbish, followed by Tas with 938 kT, and lastly NT with 347 kT of waste produced in 2016-17.
Recycling by Jurisdiction
Among Australia’s territories, SA had the highest resource recovery rate (82%) and recycling rate (78%). Vic has a 68% recycling rate, followed by NSW with 59%, and WA with 53%. ACT and Tas both have a 49% recycling rate and a 53% resource recovery rate, followed by Qld with 44% and 47%, respectively. Lastly, NT has the lowest recovery and recycling rates.
Should Waste Generation in the Country Concern You?
Definitely! The country’s battle with rubbish generation requires the effort of every individual, household, community, businesses, and local government. Each of us has contributed to the 67 million tonnes of waste we generate every year. Moreover, the consequences of rubbish production will only affect us if we don’t do anything about it. Pollution, climate change, and diseases are some issues we’re currently facing because of rubbish piling up.
What can you do to reduce the waste generated in the country?
There are many ways on how you can help curtail Australia’s growing problem with rubbish. Here are some practices you can do to cut down the waste you generate:
- Reduce – buy only the things you need
- Reuse – make the most out of your old items by using them over and over again
- Recycle – collect recyclables and bring them to your local recycling facilities for reprocessing
- Compost – make a pit in your backyard to compost your food wastes and biodegradable wastes
If you have piles of junk lying around your house or office, and you want to get rid of them in the most environment-friendly way possible, contact Kurt. We are your partner in keeping the environment clean and safe. Our team of expert rubbish removalists will handle the collection, sorting, transporting, and disposal of your rubbish efficiently and sustainably.
Kurt’s Rubbish Removal cares for the environment. That’s why we guarantee you that we will recycle every piece of the rubbish we collect. We have partner recycling facilities who will handle the reprocessing of your rubbish so that we only send the least amount of rubbish to landfills. Let’s work together to cut down waste generation in the country.