During 2010-11, the Australian economy generated 53.0 million tonnes of waste, including imports. This was a slight decrease on 2009-10 (53.8 million tonnes).
Of the total waste generated 30.8 million tonnes (58%) was recovered with 22.2 million tonnes (42%) disposed to landfill.
The Construction industry and the Household sector each generated over 14 million tonnes of waste, representing over half (54%) of the total waste generated.
The bulk of waste generated by the Construction industry was masonry. Masonry materials, accounted for 16.3 million tonnes (31%) of total waste generated in 2010-11, down from 19.8 million tonnes, or 37% of the total waste generated in 2009-10.
The Construction industry produced 10.9 million tonnes (67%) of all masonry waste in 2010-11, a 2.8 million tonnes (or 21%) decrease from 2009-10.
In 2010-11, households produced 14.3 million tonnes of waste (or 27% of total waste generation), an increase from 12.5 million tonnes (or 23% of total waste generation) in 2009-10.
Organic waste was the second largest type of waste type generated in 2010-11 after masonry waste, at 13.7 million tonnes or 26% of total waste generation. Households generated the most organic waste, 6.7 million tonnes or 49% of total organic waste.
Most other waste products showed increases from 2009-10 to 2010-11. Exceptions were paper and cardboard (a 22% decrease on 2009-10, with the bulk of this occurring in the Household sector), and solid hazardous waste (a 10% decrease between 2009-10 and 2010-11).
Figure 1. Summary of waste generated and waste services provided, 2010-11
Disposal - Waste that is buried in landfill or incinerated or any other permanent form of removing waste that is not recovered or reused in any way.
Recovery - The process of extracting materials or energy from a waste stream through recycling or recovering energy from waste.
Most waste is managed by the Waste Management Services Industry. This includes those businesses whose main activity is waste management as defined by the Australian and New Zealand Industry Classification (ANZSIC) 2006 (ANZSIC Division D, subdivision 29) and waste management activities of local government. Waste that is managed/treated by non-waste management businesses and exports of waste are also covered.
There are broadly three 'destinations' for Australia's waste:
1. Disposal to landfill.
2. Recovered for the domestic economy (includes energy recovery).
3. Exports (part of total recovery).
Of the total waste generated in 2010-11, 30.8 million tonnes was recovered, which included 27.1 million tonnes domestic recovery and 3.7 million tonnes that was exported. Total waste sent to landfill was 22.2 million tonnes.
Total waste to landfill decreased by 14% between 2009-10 and 2010-11 (from 25.9 million tonnes to 22.2 million tonnes).
Waste recovery increased from 52% in 2009-10 to 58% in 2010-11. Of the 30.7 million tonnes of recovered waste in 2010-11, 11.4 million tonnes was masonry materials and 7.2 million tonnes was organic waste.
In 2010-11, organic waste was the largest type of waste disposed to landfill (6.4 million tonnes or 29%) followed by masonry materials (4.9 million tonnes or 22%).
The largest reductions in waste materials sent to landfill were masonry (8.9 million tonnes in 2009-10 to 4.9 million tonnes in 2010-11), and paper and cardboard (2.5 million tonnes to 1.7 million tonnes). Plastic waste sent to landfill increased from 1.2 million tonnes in 2009-10 to 1.9 million tonnes in 2010-11.
The Waste Management industry accounted for 62% of the total tonnage for landfill and recovery. Businesses outside the Waste Management industry were responsible for 55% of the total waste recovered.
In 2010-11, 1.9 million tonnes of metal waste was exported which represented 53% of total waste exports.
Supply and Use of Waste Management Services and Products, 2010-11 ($m)
Waste Management Services
Businesses and government supply (provide) waste management services which are used (consumed) by other businesses, government and households. Waste management services include income from a range of services relating to waste management including collection, transport, recycling, treatment, processing or disposal of waste. In 2010-11, the supply of these services was valued at $10,430m (including taxes) an increase of 8 % or $808m from 2009-10.
Private (includes public trading enterprises) waste management businesses supplied just over half (53% or $5,558m) of the value of these services while local government provided just over one quarter (26% or $2,711m).
Income from waste management activities related to non-recyclable waste services, provided by the waste management services industry was valued at $6,934m ($4,660m from private businesses and $2,274m from public enterprises), an increase of 8% or $511m from 2009-10.
Waste management services are used or 'consumed' by businesses as part of their production processes (this expenditure is termed intermediate consumption), or by households as final consumption. In 2010-11, the waste management services industry consumed 33% or $3,231m ($1,621m from private businesses and $1,610m from public enterprises) of these services with the construction industry using 18% or $1,841m.
In 2010-11, Households spent $1,861m on waste management services (recyclable and non-recyclable combined), mostly on municipal rates, related to waste management services. This was an increase of $149m (or 9%) on 2009-10. Household expenditure constitutes 18% of total expenditure on waste management services.
In 2010-11, Australian businesses (and government) sold recyclable/recoverable waste material to the value of $5,448m, an increase of $838m (or 18%) on 2009-10.
The waste management industry supplied 54% or $2,937m ($2,882m from private businesses and $55m from public enterprises) of the value of these products in the form of sales of raw materials (eg paper, cardboard, metals, organic material etc) resulting from materials recovery or reprocessing operations.
Non-waste management businesses supplied 45% or $2,427m of the total sold recyclable/recoverable waste materials. Manufacturing ($741m), Wholesale ($582m) and Retail ($565m) made up over 75% of this income.
In 2010-11, nearly 60% ($3,252m) of the total amount of recyclable/recoverable materials supplied to the economy were consumed domestically with the remaining 40% ($2,196m) exported.
Manufacturing consumes just over half (51% or $2,774m) of the total value of these recyclable/recoverable materials, of which $1,378m is for metals scrap.
Figure 3. Waste Management Services, 2010-11 ($m)
International Trade of Waste
In 2010-11 Australia exported 3.7 million tonnes of waste valued at $2,196 million or 0.9% of Australia’s total exports. The value of Australia’s waste exports has increased significantly from $527 million in 2000-01 and the share of total exports has risen from 0.4% in 2000-01.
Australia imported 0.7 million tonnes of waste material valued at $84 million in 2010-11, representing 0.1% of the value of Australia’s total imports. There has only been a small increase in the share of waste imports to total imports, increasing from 0.3 million tonnes of waste material valued at $58 million in 2000-01 (0.05% of the value of Australia's total imports).
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