4602.0.55.005 - Waste Account, Australia, Experimental Estimates, 2013 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 19/02/2013  First Issue
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19 February 2013
Embargo: 11.30 am (Canberra time) Tuesday 19 February 2013

ABS releases first waste account

In a new, experimental environmental economic account, the Australian Bureau of Statistics has valued Australia's waste management services as a $9.5 billion industry.

According to Mark Lound, Director of Environmental Accounts at the ABS: "In the past, information on waste management has been all about the volume, that is, how many tonnes of waste are being created or recycled. Today's release is the first time the ABS has placed a dollar value on the process, and with this value we are able to link the waste management industry with Australia's National Accounts."

"We found that he supply of waste management services in 2009-10 was worth just over $9.5 billion while income made from waste products was worth over $4.5 billion."

"Between 1997 and 2012 Australia's population rose by 22 per cent, our economy's 'gross value added' - a component of the gross domestic product - rose by 64 per cent but our total waste generation increased by 145 per cent."

"With Australia's population projected to be 35.5 million by 2056, this shows that waste management will become an important issue, especially if waste generation continues to grow faster than the population or economy."

"Australian households generated almost 12.5 million tonnes of waste, nearly half of which was organic waste and nearly a quarter was paper and cardboard."

"The average Australian household generates around 1.5 tonnes of waste a year."

"We also found that 25.2 million tonnes of waste were recovered domestically, while a slightly smaller amount - 24.9 million tonnes - was sent to landfill."

Waste Account, Australia is a new and experimental account that aligns with the United Nations System of Environmental Economic Accounts that became an international standard in 2012. Further information can be found in Waste Account, Australia, Experimental Estimates (cat. no. 4602.0.55.005) available for free download from the ABS website.

Media note: When reporting ABS data, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or ABS) must be attributed as the source.