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4602.0.55.002 - Environmental Issues: Waste Management, Transport and Motor Vehicle Usage, Mar 2012 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 26/10/2012   
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RECYCLING, REUSE AND DISPOSAL

During the 12 months to March 2012, 98% of Australian households participated in some form of recycling or reuse of a range of household items. Almost 97% of households recycled and 73% reused at least one of the items. Common items recycled or reused were paper, cardboard and newspapers (95%), glass (93%), plastic bottles or containers (93%), aluminium or steel cans (91%), and plastic bags (84%). (Tables 1.1 and 1.2)

The most common way for households to recycle their paper, cardboard or newspapers was to have the items collected from the house (94%). This method was also the most common for glass (94%), aluminium cans (91%), steel cans or tins (96%) and plastic bottles or containers (93%). Just over 24% of Australian households recycled or reused electronic equipment. Of those households, 48% took their electronic equipment to a special area at the dump or waste transfer station or to a central collection point, while 30% had the items collected from the house as part of municipal kerbside recycling or private collections. (Tables 1.2 and 1.3)

South Australia and Northern Territory, which both have refundable deposits on their aluminium drink cans, reported the highest proportion of households, 52% and 32% respectively, taking aluminium cans to a special area at the dump or to a central collection point, compared with the Australian average of 8%. Of the 7.3 million households that recycled or reused plastic bags, 77% reused them at home. Nearly 83% of Tasmanian households reused their garden waste or cuttings at home, compared with the Australian average of 52%. (Table 1.3)

Almost 84% of Northern Territory households recycled at least one of the selected household items, compared with 97% of Australian households. This may be explained by 45% of Northern Territory households reporting no recycling services or facilities being provided compared with 23% of Australian households as a whole. (Tables 1.1 and 1.4)

During the 12 months to March 2012, 75% of Australian households disposed of at least one potentially hazardous household item. Of the selected household items, the most common items disposed of were household batteries (54%), followed by 'medicines, drugs or ointments' (26%). (Table 1.5)

Of the 4.7 million households that disposed of household batteries, 83% had them collected from the house along with the other non-recycled garbage. Similarly, 75% of households that disposed of fluorescent tubes or globes used this same method. Nearly 39% of households that disposed of household appliances had them collected from the house along with the other non-recycled garbage, while 26% had them collected from the house as part of municipal kerbside recycling. (Table 1.6)


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