Australian Bureau of Statistics

Rate the ABS website
ABS Home > Statistics > By Release Date
ABS @ Facebook ABS @ Twitter ABS RSS ABS Email notification service
4602.0 - Environmental Issues: People's Views and Practices, Mar 2006  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 21/11/2006   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product

MEDIA RELEASE

November 21, 2006
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)
109/2006

Waste recycling up, but public transport use remains low


In a mixed report card on the environment, Australians have embraced recycling but are steering clear of public transport, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today.

Waste recycling has grown extensively in Australian households between 1996 and 2006. In March 1996, 91% of Australian households engaged in some form of recycling or reuse in the home. By 2006, this percentage has increased to 99%. The growth in recycling may be partly attributed to the provision and continued improvement of local kerbside recycling collection services to which about 90% of households in Australia have an access.

Another noticeable trend is the continued low rate of public transport use throughout Australia. While figures have increased (from 11.9% nationwide in 1996 to 13.5% in 2006), the survey reflected the desire of individuals to continue using private vehicles, due to such factors as the lack of public transport services available and the convenience, comfort and privacy of using a private vehicle.

Some of the main findings of the 2006 survey are presented below:

Waste management

  • In March 2006, about 98% of Australian households recycled waste, 87% reused waste, while less than one per cent did not recycle or reuse waste at all (p.9)
  • Since the 1996 survey, paper products were the most commonly recycled material in Australia. Glass and plastic bottles were the two next most frequently recycled materials, each being recycled by 90% of Australian households. (p.10)
  • Between 1996 and 2006 there has been an increase in community involvement in recycling organic waste. In 2006, 66% of Australian households recycled garden waste, an increase from 51% in 1996 (p.11).
  • The practice of reusing waste material continues to grow amongst Australian households, increasing from 37% in 1996 to 87% in 2006 (p.17). The most frequently reused materials were plastic bags (89%), old clothing or rags (41%) motor oil (28%) and kitchen or food waste (27%) (p.13).
  • 46% of Australian households practised composting in 2006, down from 54% in 1996 (p.14).
  • In 2006, over 50% of survey respondents did not use hazardous waste disposal services/facilities available in their local area, the main reason being that households did not generate enough materials to warrant use of their disposal services (p.16).

Motor vehicle ownership and maintenance
  • In March 2006, 90% of Australian households kept at least one registered motor vehicle in their garage or dwelling (p.47). 96% of family households were more likely to keep one registered motor vehicle in their dwellings compared to non-family households (74%) (p.47).
  • In 2006, cost (51%), fuel economy (39%) and the size of the vehicle (34%) were the three main factors considered when purchasing a motor vehicle (p.48).
  • Air conditioning in motor vehicles increased from 72% in 1996 to 92% in 2006 (p.49).
  • In 2006, around 90% of motor vehicles used ran on unleaded fuel; 6% on diesel and 3% on gas (p.50).
  • Almost all registered motor vehicles in 2006 used by Australian households were serviced (99%) (p.50).

Use of transport
  • In 2006, 66% of Australians aged 18 years and over travelled less than 20 kilometres (km) to get to work or study. Nearly a third (28%) travelled 20km or more and 20% travelled 5km or less (p.60).
  • Private motor vehicles are the most common transport for Australians to get to work or study. In 2006, 80% of those aged 18 years and over used a private vehicle to travel to work or study (p.60).
  • Use of public transport increased from 12% in 1996 to 14% in 2006 (p.60). Those most likely to use transport to get to a place of work or study were 18-24 years old (p.63).
  • 95% of Australians who travelled to work or study in a private motor vehicle did so as a driver, while 5% travelled as passengers (p.61).
  • For those that walked or cycled to a place of work or study, proximity of home to place of work or study (59%) and exercise and health (49%) were the two most important reasons why people usually walked or cycled (p.81).

Further details are in
Environmental Issues: People's Views and Practices (cat. no. 4602.0).

For state highlights, please click on the following links:
Environmental Issues: People's Views and Practices
New South Wales

Household waste management
  • In 2006, 98% of households in New South Wales recycled, while 84% of households reused their waste. 1% of households neither recycled or reused their waste items (p.17).
  • The most common items recycled and/or reused in New South Wales were paper/cardboard/newspapers (93%), glass (91%) and plastic bottles (91%). The least recycled and/or reused items were motor oil (11%) and kitchen or food waste (44%) (p.19)
  • The most common reasons why households in New South Wales did not recycle waste were that they did not use any or have enough materials to warrant recycling (86%), no services/facilities were provided (18%), and that there was a lack of interest or effort (17%) (p.21).
  • In 2006, 88% of New South Wales households reused their plastic bags at home (p.32), while 60% of households reused their food or kitchen waste at home as compost or mulch (p.36).
  • In terms of hazardous wastes, 65% of households in New South Wales disposed of household batteries, while 33% disposed of motor oil (p.42).
  • 68% of households were not aware of hazardous waste disposal services and facilities in their local area (p.46).

Use of transport
  • A quarter (25%) of people in New South Wales had to travel between 10km to less than 20km to work or study, while 21% of persons travelled less than 5km to get to work or study. 7% of persons did not travel to work or study (p.66).
  • A third (67%) of people in New South Wales travelled to work or study in a private motor vehicle as a driver, and 4% were passengers. 19% of persons used some form of public transport while 5% of persons walked (p.67).
  • 13% of persons in New South Wales in private motor vehicles took a passenger both to and from work or study (p.71).
  • Of those persons in New South Wales that used public transport in their usual trip to work or study, 58% chose it for convenience/comfort/less stress, 24% had parking concerns and 22% did not own a motor vehicle (p.77).
  • The main reasons for not using public transport in New South Wales were that 'no service was available at all' (29%), 'convenience/comfort/privacy in one's own vehicle was preferred' (23%), and 'no service was available at the right/convenient time' (22%). (p.79).

Environmental Issues: People's Views and Practices
Victoria

Household waste management
  • 99% of households in Victoria recycled waste in 2006, while 85% of households reused their waste in some form (p.17).
  • The most common items reused and/or recycled by Victorian households were paper/cardboard/newspapers (97%), glass (96%) and plastic bottles (96%). Motor oil (9%) and kitchen food or waste (53%) were the least recycled and/or reused items (p.19).
  • The main reasons why households in Victoria did not recycle waste were that they did not use any or enough materials to warrant recycling (89%), there was a lack of interest or effort (13%), and that there were no services/facilities provided (10%) (p.21)
  • 86% of Victorian households reused their plastic bags in the home, while 15% disposed of them through municipal kerbside recycling (32%) (p.32). 62% of households in Victoria used kitchen or food waste at home as compost or mulch (p.36).
  • 62% of Victorian households disposed of household batteries (p.42), while 30% disposed of motor oil and 29% disposed of medicines, drugs or ointments (p.42).
  • In 2006, 68% of Victorian households were not aware of any hazardous waste disposal services and facilities in their local area (p.46).

Use of transport
  • The most common average distance travelled by persons living in Victoria to work or study was 10km to less than 20km (28%), followed by 5km to less than 10km (20%) and less than 5km (19%) (p.66).
  • 73% of persons in Victoria used a private motor vehicle (car) as a driver as their main form of transport to work or study, while 3% of persons were passengers. 14% used public transport to get to work or study, with 9% of those taking a train (p.67).
  • Of those travelling to and from work or study in a private motor vehicle, 9% took a passenger both to and from work or study (p.71).
  • The main reasons for using public transport in Victoria were convenience/comfort/less stress (64%), the price/cost (30%) and parking concerns (22%) (p.77).
  • The main reasons for not using public transport in Victoria were that there was 'no service available at the right/convenient time' (26%), 'no service was available at all' (25%) and 'convenience/comfort/privacy in private vehicle' (22%) (p.79).

Environmental Issues: People's Views and Practices
Queensland

Household waste management
  • In 2006, 97% of households in Queensland recycled their waste, while 92% reused it in some form. 1% of households neither recycled nor reused their waste (p.17).
  • The most common items recycled and/or reused were plastic bags (92%), old clothing or rags (88%), and paper/cardboard/newspapers, glass, and plastic bottles (all 87%). The least recycled and/or reused items were motor oil (16%) and kitchen food or waste (47%) (p.19).
  • The main reasons why households in Queensland did not recycle were that they did not use any or have enough materials to warrant recycling (83%), there was a lack of interest or effort (19%) and there were no services or facilities provided (18%) (p.21).
  • 93% of households in Queensland reused their plastic bags at home (p.32), while 62% reused kitchen or food waste at home as compost or mulch (p.36).
  • In terms of hazardous wastes, 68% of households disposed of household batteries, 48% disposed of motor oil and 32% disposed of non-working electrical products (p.42).
  • 68% of Queensland households were unaware of hazardous waste disposal services and facilities in their local area (p.46).

Use of transport
  • For persons in Queensland, the most common average distance of their usual trip to work or study was 10km to less than 20km (26%), followed by 5km to less than 10km and less than 5km (20% each respectively) (p.66)
  • 75% of those in Queensland used a private motor vehicle (car) as a driver on their usual trip to work or study, while 6% of persons were passengers. 10% of persons used public transport (p.67).
  • Of those driving private motor vehicles to and from work or study, 12% took a passenger both to and from work or study (p.71).
  • Reasons for using public transport in Queensland were convenience/comfort/less stress (63%), the price/cost (35%) and parking concerns (19%) (p.77).
  • Reasons for not using public transport in Queensland were that there was 'no service available at all' (35%), 'no service available at right/convenient time' (26%) and the 'convenience/comfort/privacy in one's own vehicle' (17%) (p.79).

Environmental Issues: People's Views and Practices
South Australia

Household waste management
  • 99% of households in South Australia recycled their waste, while 88% of households reused their waste in some form in 2006 (p.17).
  • The most commonly recycled and/or reused items in South Australia were plastic bottles (92%), glass (91%) and plastic bags (89%). The least recycled and/or reused items were motor oil (10%) and kitchen and food waste (49%) (p.19).
  • The main reasons as to why households in South Australia did not recycle were that they did not use any or enough materials to warrant it (88%), there was a lack of interest or effort (18%) and there were no services or facilities provided (15%).
  • 88% of South Australian households reused their plastic bags at home (p.32), while 57% reused their kitchen or food waste at home as compost or mulch (p.36). 17% reused motor vehicle oil at home (p.34).
  • Two-thirds of South Australian households (66%) disposed of household batteries, while 30% disposed of motor oil and 29% disposed of medicines, drugs or ointments (p.42).
  • 68% of households were not aware of hazardous waste disposal services and facilities in their local area (p.46).

Use of transport
  • For those travelling to work or study in South Australia, distances of 10km to less than 20km and 5km to less than 10km were travelled by 26% of persons each, respectively. 20% of people travelled less than 5km (p.66).
  • 75% of persons in South Australia travelled to work or study in their usual trip in a private car as a driver, while 4% of persons were passengers. 11% of people used public transport, with 9% taking a bus, the largest proportion of any state or territory (p.67).
  • Of those persons driving a private motor vehicle to work or study, 13% took a passenger both to and from study or work (p.71).
  • The most common reason for persons in South Australia to use public transport was for 'convenience/comfort/less stress' (48%), followed by 'concerned with price/cost' (43%), the highest proportion of any state or territory. 18% of persons had concerns with parking (p.77).
  • Of those persons who did not usually use public transport to work or study, 28% reported it was because there was no service available at the right/convenient time. One-quarter (25%) reported there was 'no service at all' and 22% preferred the 'convenience/comfort/privacy in private vehicle' (p.79).

Environmental Issues: People's Views and Practices
Western Australia

Household waste management
  • 96% of households in Western Australia recycled waste, while 87% of households reused their waste materials (p.17).
  • In 2006, 90% of households reused and/or recycled their plastic bags, 86% reused and/or recycled old clothing and rags and 85% reused and/or recycled paper/cardboard/newspapers (p.19).
  • The main reasons that households in Western Australia did not recycle were that they did not have any or enough waste to warrant it (85%), there was a lack of interest or effort (24%), and that there were no services or facilities provided (22%) (p.21).
  • 89% of households in Western Australia reused their plastic bags at home (p.32), while 58% reused kitchen or food waste as compost or mulch (p.36).
  • The most common hazardous wastes disposed of by Western Australian households in 2006 were household batteries (67%), non-working electrical products and medicines, drugs and ointments (33% each respectively), and motor oil (29%) (p.42).
  • 68% of households were not aware of hazardous waste disposal services and facilities in their local area (p.46).

Use of transport
  • 25% of persons in Western Australia travelled to and from work or study over a distance of 10km to less than 20km, while 21% travelled 5km to less than 10km. 8% did not travel to work or study, the highest proportion of any state or territory (p.66).
  • 79% of persons travelled to work or study in a private motor vehicle (car) as a driver, while 4% travelled as passengers. 8% used public transport (p.67).
  • Of those who travelled to work or study in a private motor vehicle as a driver, 11% took passengers (p.71).
  • Those persons who usually travelled to work or study by public transport did so most commonly for convenience/comfort/less stress (48%), followed by price/cost (37%) and parking concerns (20%) (p.77).
  • Of those persons who did not usually take public transport to work or study, the main reason was that there was no service available at all, and no service available at right/convenient time (26% each, respectively). 21% preferred the convenience/comfort and privacy in their own vehicle (p.79).
Environmental Issues: People's Views and Practices
Tasmania

Household waste management
  • 97% of Tasmanian households recycled their waste, and 92% reused it in some form (p.17).
  • The most commonly recycled and/or reused items were plastic bags (91%), glass and old clothing or rags (88% each) and paper/cardboard/newspapers (86%) (p.19).
  • The main reasons why households in Tasmania did not recycle their waste were that they did not use any or enough materials to warrant it (87%), and that there was a lack of interest or effort (16%) (p.21).
  • Tasmanian households had the largest rates of any state or territory of recycling certain materials, with 94% reusing their plastic bags at home (p.32), 75% recycling their garden waste at home as compost or mulch (p.38), and 40% reusing motor oil at home (p.34).
  • Of disposal of hazardous wastes, 69% of Tasmanian households disposed of household batteries, 34% disposed of motor oil and 32% disposed of medicines, drugs or ointments (p.42).
  • 61% of Tasmanian households were not aware of hazardous waste disposal services and facilities in their area (p.46).

Use of transport
  • 27% of persons in Tasmania travelled less than 5km to work or study, while 22% travelled 10km to less than 20km and 20% travelled 5km to less than 10km (p.66).
  • The main form of transport used in Tasmania to get to work or study was in a private motor vehicle (car) as a driver (73%), while 6% travelled as passengers. 6% of persons used public transport, the lowest proportion of any state or territory (p.67).
  • 16% of drivers in a private motor vehicle travelling to and from work or study took a passenger with them on both journeys (p.71).
  • 39% of those in Tasmania used public transport on their usual trip to work or study because they could not drive or were unlicensed. 38% of persons used it for convenience/comfort/less stress (p.77).
  • The main reason for not using public transport was that there was 'no service being available at all' (31%), followed by 'no service available at the right/convenient time' (27%) and the 'convenience/comfort/privacy of one's own vehicle' (22%) (p.79).

Environmental Issues: People's Views and Practices
Northern Territory

Household waste management
  • 94% of households in the Northern Territory recycled waste materials, while 91% reused materials in some form (p.17).
  • In 2006, 88% of households recycled plastic bags, 82% recycled old clothing or rags, and 77% recycled plastic bottles (p.19).
  • The main reason that households in the Northern Territory did not recycle and/or reuse materials was that they did not use any or enough materials to warrant recycling (94%), the largest proportion of any state or territory. There was a lack of services and facilities for 30% of households, while a lack of interest or effort for 24% of households was the third most common reason (p.21).
  • 93% of households in the Northern Territory reported reusing their plastic bags at home (p.32), while 56% of households reused kitchen or food waste as compost or mulch (p.36).
  • In terms of hazardous waste, the most common material recycled was household batteries (72%), followed by fluorescent tubes or globes (33%) and motor oil (32%) (p.42).
  • 73% of households in the Northern Territory were not aware of hazardous waste disposal services and facilities in their area (p.46).

Use of transport
  • 36% of those in the Northern Territory travelled less than 5km to work or study, the largest proportion of any state or territory. 27% travelled 5km to less than 10km (p.66).
  • The most common main form of transport used in a usual trip to work or study was in a private motor vehicle (car) as a driver (72%). 6.8% of persons used public transport (p.67).
  • 16% of those driving a private vehicle took passengers both to and from work or study (p.71).
  • Of those who did not take public transport on their usual trip to and from work or study, 31% reported that there was 'no service available at the right/convenient time', while 27% reported they preferred the 'convenience/comfort/privacy of their own vehicle'.10% reported not using public transport so as to carry equipment/tools/passengers, which was the highest proportion of any state or territory (p.79).

Environmental Issues: People's Views and Practices
Australian Capital Territory

Household waste management
  • Nearly 100% of households in the Australian Capital Territory reported recycling their waste, while 93% reused it in some form. These were the highest proportions of any state or territory (p.17).
  • The main reasons for not recycling were that households did not use any or enough materials to warrant recycling (86%), there were no services or facilities in their area (16%), and that there was a lack of interest or effort (14%) (p.21).
  • 92% of households in the Australian Capital Territory reused plastic bags at home (p.32), while 81% reused kitchen or food waste at home as compost or mulch, the highest proportion of any state or territory (p.36).
  • The most commonly disposed of hazardous waste by households in the Australian Capital Territory was household batteries (71%), followed by motor oil (47%), and medicines, drugs and ointments (34%) (p.42).
  • 56% of households in the Australian Capital Territory were not aware of hazardous waste disposal services and facilities in their local area (p.46).

Use of transport
  • 36% of persons in the Australian Capital Territory travelled 10km to less than 20km in their usual trip to work or study, while 4% travelled 30km or more, the lowest proportion of any state or territory (p.66).
  • 73% of persons travelled in a private motor vehicle (car) in their usual trip to work or study, while 6% were passengers. 8% used public transport (p.67).
  • Of those persons who drove a private motor vehicle in their usual trip to and from work or study, 15% took passengers on both journeys (p.71).
  • 49% of persons who took public transport on their usual trip to work or study did so because of convenience/comfort/less stress, while 37% did so because of price/cost (p.77).
  • The most common reason for not using public transport in the Australian Capital Territory was convenience/comfort/privacy in own vehicle (37%). 31% reported that there was no service available at the right/convenient time (p.79).

Bookmark and Share. Opens in a new window

Commonwealth of Australia 2014

Unless otherwise noted, content on this website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia Licence together with any terms, conditions and exclusions as set out in the website Copyright notice. For permission to do anything beyond the scope of this licence and copyright terms contact us.