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4602.0.55.005 - Waste Account, Australia, Experimental Estimates, 2013 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 19/02/2013  First Issue
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AUSTRALIA'S INTERNATIONAL TRADE IN WASTE



Since the early 1990's Australia has had a positive balance of trade for waste materials (i.e the value of exports has exceeded imports). This trade balance has grown significantly in the last ten years from $469 million in 2001-02 to $2,268 million in 2011-12.

Figure 1,
Graph Image for International Trade in Waste, 1990-2012


EXPORTS OF WASTE MATERIAL

In 2011-12 Australia exported 4.4 million tonnes of waste valued at $2,407 million or 0.8% of Australia’s total exports. In the last decade the value of Australia’s waste exports has tripled from $696 million and the share of total exports has risen from 0.4% in 2000-01 to the current figure of 0.8%.

Exports grew from $215 million in 1990-91 to $289 million in 1998-99 and then experienced rapid growth to reach $2,407 million in 2011-12. Conversely, imports of waste have only increased from $60 million to $139 million over the same period.

Although trade in waste products have grown significantly in the last 10 years, waste exports experienced a sharp downturn from $1,977 million in 2007-08 to $1,694 million in 2008-09 and waste imports almost halved from $122 million in 2008-09 to $67 million in 2009-10. The downturn in trade in waste materials over this period was considered to be partly related to the global financial crisis.

Australia’s main waste exports are waste metals comprising waste and scrap of cast iron, ferrous metals, gold, copper and aluminium (82% of Australia's total value of waste exports). The next most valuable waste export was waste and scrap paper or paperboard. Global scrap metal prices are driven by the increased demand for steel, particularly from countries experiencing rapid economic growth such as China.

Table 1: Waste Exports 2011-12

Gross weight
Value (FOB) (a)
Category
('000 tonnes)
($m)

Glass
3
1
Hazardous
28
41
Metals
2 463
1 969
Organics
121
41
Other
39
30
Paper & Cardboard
1 469
241
Plastics
175
74
Rubber
127
10
Timber
15
1
Total
4 440
2 407

(a) (FOB) - Free on Board (see glossary for definition)


In 2011-12 Australia’s major trading partner for exported waste products was China which received 32% of the total value of Australia’s waste exports.

Australia’s main waste export to China was waste metal ($602 million or 592,000 tonnes) which accounted for 31% of the value of all exported waste metals. Aside from China, Australia's waste metals were also exported to Taiwan ($149 million or 196,000 tonnes), Malaysia ($140 million or 302,000 tonnes), Indonesia ($120 million or 280,000 tonnes), Korea ($108 million or 77,000 tonnes) and Vietnam ($77 million or 184,000 tonnes).

China also received 64% ($146 million or 941,000 tonnes) of Australia’s waste paper and cardboard. Australia's other main trading partners for this product were Indonesia ($47 million or 225,000 tonnes), Hong Kong ($18 million or 169,000 tonnes), Malaysia ($11 million or 60,000 tonnes) and Korea ($7 million or 29,000 tonnes).

Waste paper and cardboard contributed 10% of Australia’s total waste exports in 2011-12. The value of Australia’s waste paper exports experienced rapid growth from $98 million in 2003-04 to $251 million in 2007-08, but has since fallen slightly to $241 million in 2011-12.

Hong Kong was Australia's main trading partner for plastic waste in 2011-12 receiving 62% ($43 million or 110,000 tonnes) of this waste product. China ($16 million or 45,000 tonnes), Indonesia ($2 million or 5,000 tonnes), and Thailand ($2 million or 4,000 tonnes) also receive significant amounts of plastic waste.

In 2011-12 hazardous waste exported by Australia was largely in the form of lead waste and scrap (90%) and chemical residual products (5%). Our main trading partners for this type of waste were Korea, Philippines and Germany. Australia exported $17 million of hazardous waste to Korea in the form of lead waste in 2011-12.

Australia exported 77% of rubber waste products to Vietnam ($5 million or 98,000 tonnes) in 2011-12.

The main destinations for organic waste in 2011-12 were New Zealand, Indonesia and Korea with these countries receiving 86%(104,000 tonnes) of the total amount exported.

Figure 2,
Graph Image for Waste Exports (major components by $ value) 1999 to 2012

Figure 3,
Graph Image for Waste Exports (major components by tonnes) 1999 to 2012


Imports of waste material

In 2011-12 Australia imported 685,000 tonnes of waste material valued at $139 million which represents only 0.05% of the value of Australia’s total imports. In the last decade there has only been a small increase in the share of waste imports to total imports, up from 260,000 tonnes of waste material valued at $58 million in 2000-01 (0.04% of the value of Australia's total imports).

Table 2: Waste Imports 2011-12

Gross weight
Value (FOB) (a)
Category
('000 tonnes)
($m)

Glass
7
(b)0
Hazardous
8
24
Metals
620
88
Organics
10
6
Other
18
10
Paper & Cardboard
2
1
Plastics
6
3
Rubber
2
2
Timber
11
6

(a) (FOB) - Free on Board (see glossary for definition)
(b) Less than $500,000


As with exports Australia’s major waste material imported was metals. In terms of weight, the main item of waste metal imported in 2011-12 was 574,000 tonnes of granulated slag valued at $2 million. In monetary value Australia’s primary waste metal import was gold waste and scrap valued at $60 million (2 tonnes), followed by aluminium and copper waste metals valued at $11 million (5,200 tonnes).

Australia’s main trading partners in 2011-12 for imported waste products were Japan, New Zealand, USA, Singapore and China. Eighty eight percent (601,000 tonnes) of Australia's total waste imports came from Japan, mainly in the form of granulated slag from the manufacture of iron and steel.

From New Zealand, Australia imported waste glass, waste metals and waste organics. Eighty five percent (6,000 tonnes) of total waste glass materials were imported from New Zealand in 2011-12.

In 2011-12 Australia’s imports of hazardous waste came mainly from Singapore ($18 million) in the form of waste oils and petroleum products.

The main item of waste imported from the USA in 2011-12 were gold waste and scrap ($29 million or 1 tonne).

Over half the weight (55% or 3,000 tonnes) of Australia’s imports of waste from China in 2011-12 were waste slag and ash.

In 2011-12 Australia’s imports of organic waste mainly originated from New Zealand ($2 million or 1,400 tonnes) and China ($1 million or 1,700 tonnes).

Australia imported just over 2,000 tonnes of waste paper and cardboard in 2011-12 with almost 65% (1,300 tonnes) originating from Fiji and small amounts also imported from New Zealand and the USA.

Imports of plastics waste in 2011-12 came primarily from China (2,000 tonnes) and Taiwan (1,000 tonnes).

Italy supplied 30% (696 tonnes) of all waste rubber products imported in 2011-12 in the form of waste parings and scrap.

Timber waste imported into Australia was sourced primarily from South Africa ($3 million or 7,300 tonnes) in 2011-12. Most of the timber waste that is imported into Australia is in the form of residual lyes 84% (9300 tonnes) from the manufacture of wood pulp.

Figure 4,
Graph Image for Waste Imports (major components by $ value) 1999 to 2012

Figure 5,
Graph Image for Waste Imports (major components by tonnes) 1999 to 2012


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