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1345.4 - SA Stats, Apr 2007  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/04/2007   
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Image: Environment - Household Waste Management in South Australia ENVIRONMENT - HOUSEHOLD WASTE MANAGEMENT IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA

INTRODUCTION
In 2002–03, each person in South Australia generated on average about 2.25 tonnes of waste, much higher than the 1.63 tonnes of waste estimated for each person in Australia (DEWR 2006). How we deal with the waste generated is an important issue facing both the state and Australia as a whole. This article looks into the various ways South Australian households manage and dispose of their waste. Data were sourced from a national household survey conducted by the ABS in March 2006 and results published in the ABS publication Environmental issues: People's views and practices, March 2006, (cat. no. 4602.0). Information presented from this survey include household recycling and reuse of waste materials, the ways in which waste materials are recycled or reused, and the disposal of hazardous waste materials.

SUMMARY

  • Almost all households in South Australia recycled waste (99%).
  • The waste materials recycled or reused by the highest proportion of South Australian households were plastic bottles (92%), glass (91%), plastic bags (89%) and paper/cardboard/newspapers (88%).
  • The most common way that waste was recycled or reused by South Australian households was by reuse at home (88% of households that recycled/reused waste).
  • A greater proportion of South Australian households that recycled waste used a central collection point other than a dump/waste transfer station (76%) than all Australian households (63%).
  • The main reason why South Australian households did not recycle or reuse a particular waste was; they did not use enough materials to warrant recycling (88% of households that did not recycle/reuse waste).
  • The item of hazardous waste disposed of by most South Australian households was household batteries; disposed of by 66% of households.
  • Most of the hazardous waste materials generated by South Australian households are disposed of through the usual garbage collection (85%).
  • Less than one third (32%) of South Australian households stated that they were aware of any services or facilities to dispose of hazardous waste.
  • The main reason reported by South Australian households for not using hazard waste disposal services or facilities was that they did not generate enough hazardous waste to warrant use (55%).


RECYCLING AND REUSE OF WASTE BY HOUSEHOLDS

From 1996 to 2006, the proportion of South Australian households that recycled waste increased from 89% in 1996 to 99% in 2006, while those that had reused waste increased from 43% to 88% over this period. This is a similar picture to Australia as a whole, where the proportion of households that recycled increased from 88% in 1996 to 98% in 2006, and those that reused waste increased from 37% to 87% over this period.

Of the 640,500 households in South Australia in 2006, less than 1% neither recycled nor reused waste materials. This was a decrease from 8% of South Australian households in 1996. The proportion of Australian households that did not engage in these activities similarly decreased from 9% to 1% between 1996 and 2006.

HOUSEHOLD WASTE RECYCLING AND REUSE, South Australia


Graph: Household Waste Recycling and Reuse, SA
Source: Environmental issues: People's views and practices, March 2006 (cat. no. 4602.0)


In 2006, the proportion of South Australian households that recycled waste ranked third of all states and territories, behind the Australian Capital Territory (nearly 100%), and Victoria (99%). The proportion of South Australian households that reused waste ranked fourth of all states and territories, behind the Australian Capital Territory (93%), Queensland (92%) and Tasmania (92%).

From 1996 to 2006, the level of participation in waste recycling or reuse by South Australian households increased for all types of waste materials surveyed.

WASTE MATERIALS RECYCLED OR REUSED

In 2006, the waste materials which were reported as recycled or reused by the highest proportion of South Australian households were plastic bottles (92%), glass (91%), plastic bags (89%) and paper/cardboard/newspapers (88%). The materials most reported as recycled or reused by Australian households were paper/cardboard/newspapers (92%), glass (90%), plastic bottles (90%) and plastic bags (89%). This is not surprising as these are materials that may be readily recycled through usual kerbside recycling services. It is estimated that this type of recycling service is available to about 90% of households in Australia (Environmental issues: People's views and practices, March 2006, (cat. no. 4602.0)).

While the recycling or reuse of garden waste by South Australian households has increased from 52% of households in 1996 to 74% in 2006, that of kitchen or food waste changed little over this period (from 47% to 49%). Over this period, recycling or reuse of garden waste by Australian households increased from 51% to 66% of households, while that of kitchen or food waste only increased from 45% to 48%.

WASTE MATERIALS RECYCLED/REUSED BY HOUSEHOLDS, South Australia —1996 and 2006

HOW HOUSEHOLDS RECYCLED OR REUSED WASTE

In 2006, the most common way that waste was recycled or reused by South Australian households was by reuse at home (88% of households that recycled/reused waste). This was also the most common way that waste was recycled for all Australian households (87%).

In 2006, municipal kerbside recycling was also used by the majority of South Australian households that recycled waste (82%), but this was less than that of Australian households (87%).

In 2006, a greater proportion of South Australian households that recycled waste used a central collection point other than a dump/waste transfer station (76%) than that of all Australian households (63%). In fact, recycling in this manner was more common by South Australian households than by households in any other state or territory, with the Australian Capital Territory ranking second (73%). This greater participation in recycling through a central collection point by South Australian households may be due to the refundable deposit available for drink bottles and cans.

An easy way for households to make a difference to the amount of waste sent to landfill is to compost their organic waste and use it in the garden. However, in 2006 only 42% of South Australian households that recycled or reused waste materials used waste at home as compost or mulch, less than that of all Australian households (46%). This is a decrease from 1996, where 53% of South Australian households and 54% of Australian households used waste as compost or mulch.

WAYS HOUSEHOLDS RECYCLE WASTE, South Australia

Graph: Ways Households Recycle Waste, SA
Sources: Environmental issues: People's views and practices, March 2003 (cat. no. 4602.0)


HOW DIFFERENT WASTE MATERIALS ARE RECYCLED OR REUSED

A type of waste material can be disposed of in a variety of ways. Often a particular type of waste is disposed of by more than one method. For example, a household may both reuse glass bottles at home as well as recycle glass bottles through their municipal kerbside recycling service. Table 1 shows the number of South Australian households that recycled or reused a waste material and compares the proportion that used a particular method to that of Australian households.

In 2006, the types of waste materials most commonly recycled or reused by South Australian households were plastic bottles, glass, plastic bags and paper/cardboard/newspapers. Of the households that recycled or reused plastic bottles (592,000), glass (580,500) or paper/cardboard/newspapers (564,200) in 2006, the most common method used to recycle these waste materials was kerbside recycling (71%, 77% and 88% respectively). In comparison, 90% of Australian households that recycled plastic bottles, 90% that recycled paper/cardboard/newspapers and 89% that recycled glass did so by using kerbside recycling in this period. Of the 571,800 South Australian households that recycled or reused plastic bags in 2006, 88% reused these at home, while only 9% recycled plastic bags through a central collection point that was not a dump or waste transfer station. In the same period, of the Australian households that recycled or reused plastic bags, 89% reused these at home, and even less (7%) recycled plastic bags through a central collection point that was not a dump or waste transfer station.

In 2006, of the South Australian households that recycled aluminium cans, 55% used kerbside recycling to do so, while 39% used a central collection point other than a dump or waste transfer station. In the same period, of the 81% of Australian households that recycled aluminium cans, 88% used kerbside recycling to do so, while only 7% used a central collection point other than the dump or waste transfer station.

In 2006, of the South Australian households that recycled or reused garden waste, 55% used municipal kerbside recycling to do so, while 43% reused it as compost or mulch. In comparison, of the Australian households that recycled or reused garden waste in 2006, just 33% used kerbside recycling to do so, while 57% reused it as compost or mulch in this period. It should be noted that not all municipal councils provide kerbside recycling services for garden waste.
While just under one half of South Australian households recycled or reused kitchen or food waste in 2006, the majority (57%) of households that did used it as compost or mulch, 27% reused it at home and 13% recycled it through kerbside recycling. In comparison, of the similar proportion of Australian households that recycled or reused kitchen or food waste in this period, a larger proportion (61%) used it as compost or mulch, 27% reused it at home and only 10% recycled it through kerbside recycling. Not all municipal councils provide kerbside recycling services for kitchen and food waste.

While proportionally fewer South Australian households than Australian households used kerbside recycling for plastic bottle (71% of South Australian households compared to 90% of Australian households), glass (77% compared to 89%) and aluminium cans (55% compared to 88%), this was balanced by proportionally more South Australian households using a central collection point other than a dump or waste transfer station to recycle plastic bottles (30% of South Australian households compared to 3% of Australian households), glass (17% compared to 2%) and aluminium cans (39% compared to 7%). This is consistent with the refundable deposit available for drink bottles and cans in South Australia which must be delivered to a central collection point for refund.

Proportionally more South Australian households (55%) than Australian households (33%) used kerbside recycling for garden waste. Conversely, proportionally more Australian households (57%) used compost or mulch to recycle garden waste than South Australian households (43%). Most South Australian metropolitan municipal councils provide kerbside recycling for garden waste.

TABLE 1: WASTE RECYCLED OR REUSED BY HOUSEHOLDS, By method(a), South Australia and Australia — March 2006


Households that recycled (b)
Kerbside recycling
Private collection
Special area at dump/
waste transfer station




SA
SA
Aust
SA
Aust
SA
Aust
'000
%
%
%
%
%
%

Plastic bottles
592
71
90
1
2
5
2
Glass
581
77
89
1
2
4
2
Plastic bags
572
10
11
1
1
0
1
Paper/cardboard/
newspapers
564
88
90
1
2
1
2
Aluminium cans
548
55
88
1
2
7
3
Old clothing or rags
527
2
1
*1
5
*1
6
Garden waste
477
55
33
4
5
2
6
Steel cans
455
92
94
*2
2
*1
1
Kitchen waste or food waste
317
13
10
2
5
0
0
Motor Oil
62
*4
3
*3
3
39
35


* estimate is subject to sampling variability too high for most practical purposes
n.a. not applicable
(a) More than one method of recycling or reusing may be specified for each product, so proportions do not add up to 100%.
(b) The total number of South Australian households that reported they had recycled or reused this waste material in 2006. The total number of South Australian households in 2006 was 640,500.
Source: Environmental issues: People's views and practices, March 2006 (cat. no. 4602.0)

TABLE 1 (cont.): WASTE RECYCLED OR REUSED BY HOUSEHOLDS, By method(a), South Australia and Australia — March 2006


Households that recycled (b)
Central collection point (not dump/
waste transfer station)
Compost or mulch
Reused at home




SA
SA
Aust
SA
Aust
SA
Aust
'000
%
%
%
%
%
%

Plastic bottles
592
30
3
n.a.
n.a.
7
10
Glass
581
17
2
n.a.
n.a.
17
17
Plastic bags
572
9
7
n.a.
n.a.
88
89
Paper/cardboard/
newspapers
564
6
2
4
5
15
13
Aluminium cans
548
39
7
n.a.
n.a.
*1
0
Old clothing or rags
527
71
69
n.a.
n.a.
48
41
Garden waste
477
*1
1
43
57
6
7
Steel cans
455
5
1
2
2
Kitchen waste or food waste
317
0
0
57
61
27
27
Motor Oil
62
25
23
n.a.
n.a.
17
28


* estimate is subject to sampling variability too high for most practical purposes
n.a. not applicable
(a) More than one method of recycling or reusing may be specified for each product, so proportions do not add up to 100%.
(b) The total number of South Australian households that reported they had recycled or reused this waste material in 2006. The total number of South Australian households in 2006 was 640,500.
Source: Environmental issues: People's views and practices, March 2006 (cat. no. 4602.0)

REASONS FOR NOT RECYCLING OR REUSING WASTE

The main reasons why South Australian households did not recycle or reuse a particular waste in 2006 were: they did not use enough materials to warrant recycling (88% of households that did not recycle/reuse waste), they were not interested or it was too much effort (18%) and no services or facilities were provided (15%), the same reasons cited nationally (86%, 17% and 16% respectively.

REASONS WHY HOUSEHOLDS DO NOT RECYCLE, South Australia

Graph: Reasons Why Households do not Recycle, SA
Sources: Environmental issues: People's views and practices, March 2003 (cat. no. 4602.0)


HAZARDOUS WASTE

Waste is 'hazardous' when it contains substances or has properties that make it harmful to human health or the environment. While in small quantities they may seem harmless, considerable quantities of these materials can end up being disposed of in landfills that are not designed to accept this type of waste. Hazardous wastes require careful management as they may be poisonous, corrosive, flammable, explosive or reactive.

South Australian households use a number of materials at home that can result in hazardous waste and these are mainly household batteries (disposed by 66% of household), motor oil (30%) and medicines, drugs or ointments (29%). Household batteries (66% of households), motor oil (35%), and medicines, drugs and ointments (30%) were also the hazardous wastes most disposed of by all households in Australia.


HAZARDOUS WASTE MATERIALS DISPOSED OF BY HOUSEHOLDS, South Australia

Graph: Hazardous Waste Materials Disposed of by Households, SA
Source: Environmental issues: People's views and practices, March 2006 (cat. no. 4602.0)


Most of the hazardous waste materials generated by South Australian households are disposed of through the usual garbage collection from the house (85%). This was the same proportion as for all Australian households (85%).

WAYS HOUSEHOLDS DISPOSED OF BY HAZARDOUS WASTE, South Australia



When asked if they were aware of any services or facilities to dispose of hazardous waste, in 2006 less than one third (32%) of South Australian households stated that they were. This was the same proportion as for all Australian households (32%).

The primary reason reported by South Australian households for not using hazard waste disposal services or facilities available in their local area was that they did not generate enough hazardous waste to warrant use (55%). This was also the primary reason reported by all households in Australia (61%). One tenth (10%) of South Australian households stated they had no reason for not using hazardous waste disposal services, while 9% reported they were not interested or it was too much effort as a reason. Australian households were similar, with slightly more reporting no reason for not using hazardous waste disposal services (13%), and slightly less reporting they were not interested or it too much effort (8%) as a reason.

REASONS DID NOT USE HAZARDOUS WASTE DISPOSAL SERVICES OR FACILITIES(a), Households—March 2006

Graph: Reasons did not use Hazardous Waste Disposal Services or Facilities(a), Households- March 2006
Source: Environmental issues: People's views and practices, March 2006 (cat. no. 4602.0)


REFERENCES

Department of the Environment and Water Resources (DEWR), 2006 Submission to the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Waste Generation and Resource Efficiency
Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2006, Environmental issues: People's views and practices, March 2006 (cat. no. 4602.0)
Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2003, Environmental issues: People's views and practices, March 2003 (cat. no. 4602.0)



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