Australian Bureau of Statistics
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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INTRODUCTION AND KEY INDICATORS
This publication is the first Australian waste account produced using an environmental economic accounting framework. The Waste Account, Australia, Experimental Estimates (WAAEE) 2013 (cat. no. 4602.0.55.005) presents integrated monetary and physical waste information using an internationally recognised conceptual framework to assist in informing waste policy and discussion in Australia.
Waste management is a complex issue and consequently poses a number of measurement challenges. The production and use of materials, goods and services have a range of environmental and economic consequences. Effective waste management is much broader than the provision of waste services, typically involving the recovery of materials, recycling, and disposal to landfill, provided primarily by the Waste Management Services Industry.
Government, businesses and households are all involved in waste generation and waste management either by: actively reducing, reusing, recovering, recycling materials; paying others to recover or to dispose of unwanted materials; or utilising recycled waste products. Government policies, pricing mechanisms, types and location of waste facilities are just some of the broader issues that make the management of waste a complex task.
Waste management is largely the responsibility of state/territory and local governments, with information often based on different classifications, policies and regulations across Australia. As a result it is difficult to analyse and compare data between jurisdictions with the result that the relationship between the environment and economy is not fully understood.
Figure 1 illustrates the economic processes of waste generation, management and use within the economy. Waste accounts highlight and measure the inputs, generation and management (use) of waste by industries as it flows either directly to the environment, be taken for treatment, stored or used within the economy. This, in turn, will assist in analysing the effectiveness and impact of policy, and potentially show where policy can be improved to reduce waste generation and minimise waste to landfill.
Why a Waste Account and What is it?
There is a close connection between the environment and the economy. The economy depends on the environment as a source for its raw materials and also as a sink for its waste and emissions to air and water. Pollution of the environment leads to environmental problems such as climate change, air and water degradation, which affects society’s sustainability. The United Nations System of Environmental Economic Accounting (SEEA) framework integrates information on the environment and economy and provides a conceptual basis for providing statistical information for waste policy.
Using the SEEA framework, the WAAEE presents a series of tables showing information on the generation of waste, the destination of waste to landfills or to recycling facilities, and the supply of recycled materials to the economy, including the related financial flows of these waste transactions.
The WAAEE includes tables on:
The figures in these tables are experimental and intended to demonstrate the presentation and potential value of waste information in an integrative framework. They differ in scope and concept to data published in the three yearly National Waste Report produced by the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC) and are not proposed to replace other official sources of waste generation, recovery or disposal statistics.
The primary purpose of presenting information in this framework is to highlight the importance of the integration of both bio-physical information, which measures the state of the environment, with socio-economic information that reports on economic and social drivers, pressures, impacts and responses. For example, the WAAEE integrates physical waste data to the Australian National Accounts, as well as providing information on other environmental issues (e.g. water and energy use by industry and households).
The WAAEE will also identify data gaps and deficiencies and provide a framework to help underpin integrated waste data by using consistent concepts, terminology and classifications.
This publication also highlights some key waste issues including e-waste, hazardous waste and international trade in waste in the associated feature articles.
Practical applications of an integrated Waste Account
The integration of environmental and socio-economic information and the use of common frameworks, classifications and standards can assist policy-makers by:
In particular, a waste account can provide consistent economic and physical data on:
Key Indicators, 2009-10
Table 1 is a compilation of WAAEE supply and use tables and other ABS sources to provide key indicators for the waste management services industry.
Of the estimated 53.2 million tonnes of waste generated by business, government and households in 2009-10, 31% is attributed to construction, 25% to service industries, and 23% to households.
Expenditure on waste management services (eg payments to contractors and subcontractors, fees for waste management etc) totalled $9,593m. Thirty per cent of this expenditure was by the waste management industry (including local government). Construction, households and the service industries consumed the bulk of the rest of these services.
The majority of income from waste management services (80%) was provided by the waste management industry (including local government). Sixteen per cent of this income was for the provision of recyclable waste management services.
Income from waste products (raw waste materials with a positive value) totalled $4,516m. Half of this amount was from the sales of raw materials resulting from materials recovery or reprocessing by the waste management industry. One quarter of the total income from waste products was for the services industries, and a further 16% by the manufacturing industry.
Gross value added ($m GVA) per '000 tonnes waste generated varied greatly between industries, from $6m GVA per '000 tonnes of waste generated by the construction industry, up to $356m, GVA per '000 tonnes waste generated by the mining industry (excluding mineral waste).
In 2009-10, the average household generated 1.5 tonnes of waste and spent, on average, $196 on waste management services.
Please see explanatory notes for information on the scope, methods and data sources used to compile the WAAEE.
International Waste Accounts
There are other countries currently producing physical waste accounts. Statistics Netherlands first presented an illustrative NAMEA (National Accounting Matrix including Environmental Accounts) in 1991. In the Dutch waste accounts the amount of landfilled waste has been considered an important environmental pressure indicator by government.
Statistics Norway first produced a Waste Account in 1995 and this is now an annual publication. They collect data for household waste, waste from manufacturing industries, hazardous waste statistics, construction and demolition waste, service industries and survey landfills, incineration and composting. The waste account data are used by Eurostat, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and industrial and non-government organisations, education and research institutes.
Figure 2 shows total waste generated by industry sector from 1995 to 2010 for Norway. In 2010 Manufacturing comprised 28% of the total waste amount with Households contributing 23%.
Figure 3 shows waste material types sent to landfill from 1995 to 2010 for Norway. Measures to control land waste have seen organic, paper, plastic, concrete and metal wastes dropping by as much as 30% in three years from 2007 to 2010.
Further information on Environmental Accounting
These experimental estimates explore concepts and methods while also assessing the quality and limitations of available data sources. The timing and frequency of future WAAEE's will be determined in consultation with stakeholders and the availability of data and other resources.
For further information on environmental-economic accounting please refer to the ABS publication - Completing the Picture - Environmental Accounting in Practice (cat. no. 4628.0.55.001) or the System of Environmental and Economic Accounting United Nations Statistics Division ‘System of Environmental-Economic Accounting’, http://unstats.un.org/unsd/envaccounting/seea.asp.
Other ABS publications utilising the SEEA framework include:
These documents will be presented in a new window.
This page last updated 18 February 2013