4602.0.55.002 - Environmental Issues: Waste Management, Transport and Motor Vehicle Usage, Mar 2012 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 26/10/2012   
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For information on the institutional environment of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), including the legislative obligations of the ABS, financing and governance arrangements, and mechanisms for scrutiny of ABS operations, please see ABS Institutional Environment.


The most recent Waste Management, Transport and Motor Vehicle Usage (WMTU) Survey was conducted in March 2012 and provides information on:

    • person level travel preferences and patterns
    • motor vehicle usage and the number of bicycles kept at the household’s dwelling
    • households’ recycling and reuse habits of common household products
    • households’ disposal of household items that contain hazardous chemicals
The survey was conducted throughout Australia as a supplement to the ABS monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS).

The survey covers households in urban, rural, remote and very remote areas across all states and territories of Australia, excluding households in Indigenous Communities.


The WMTU Survey is collected triennially each March as a supplement to the ABS monthly LFS. Surveys on this topic have been conducted since 1996. Data from the survey is released approximately seven months after the completion of enumeration (i.e. during October).


The sample size for the March 2012 LFS was approximately 33,000 dwellings. Only half of these dwellings were included in the sample and there were 12,870 fully responding households. Taking into account sample loss, the response rate was 90%.

Estimates in this publication are subject to sampling and non-sampling errors. Sampling error is the error associated with taking a sample of dwellings rather than going to all dwellings in Australia. In this publication the sampling error is measured by the relative standard error (RSE), the standard error expressed as a percentage of the estimate. Non-sampling errors can occur in any data collection, whether based on a sample or a full count such as a census. Sources of non-sampling error include non-response, errors in reporting by respondents or recording answers by interviewers, and errors in coding or processing of data. Every effort is made to reduce the non–sampling error by careful design and testing of questions, training interviewers, follow-up of respondents and extensive editing and quality control procedures at all stages of data processing.


Domestic waste management and transport use data has generally been collected every three years by the ABS. Previous data were published in 2009, 2006, 2003, 2000 and 1996. Data from the 2012 Survey is released under the title Environment Issues: Waste Management, Transport and Motor Vehicle Usage (cat. no. 4602.0.55.002), while the 2009 publication was entitled Environment Issues: Waste Management and Transport Use (cat. no. 4602.0.55.002). Prior to 2008, the annual publication Environmental Issues: People's Views and Practices (cat. no. 4602.0) focussed on one of three rotating topics each year: Waste Management and Transport Use; Energy Use and Conservation; and Water Use and Conservation.

While the ABS seeks to maximise consistency and comparability over time by minimising changes to the survey, sound survey practice requires ongoing development to maintain the relevance of the data. For 2012, a few changes were made to the survey to capture current trends and practices in waste management, transport and motor vehicle usage. These changes are outlined in the Explanatory notes (see paragraph 18).


This publication contains tables with annotated data and a summary of the main findings to assist with the interpretation of the results of the Survey. Detailed Explanatory notes, a Technical note on Data Quality and a Glossary are also included providing information on the terminology, classifications and other technical aspects associated with these statistics.


This publication is available electronically, Environment Issues: Waste Management, Transport and Motor Vehicle Usage (cat. no. 4602.0.55.002), released via the ABS website. Tables and associated RSE tables are available in spreadsheet format.

Data is available at state/territory level and state/territory by capital city/balance of state level. Additional data may be available on request. Note that detailed data can be subject to high relative standard errors, and in some cases, may result in data being confidentialised.

For further information about these or related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Centre on 1300 135 070.