Waste Account, Australia, Experimental Estimates methodology

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Reference period
2016-17 financial year

Explanatory notes


The Waste Account, Australia, Experimental Estimates, 2016-17 is the first account to be released under the Common national approach to environmental-economic accounting in Australia. The development of these estimates was supported by the Department of the Environment and Energy (DoEE) to help inform Australia's National Waste Policy.

Environmental accounting framework

This account is one of a suite of environmental-economic accounts produced by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) based on the United Nations System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA). The ABS first published environmental accounts in 1995, beginning with monetary estimates for a number of environmental assets within scope of the System of National Accounts (SNA) asset boundary.

The SEEA Central Framework (SEEA CF) is a conceptual framework that uses a systems approach to organise environmental and economic information. It covers, as completely as possible, the stocks and flows that are relevant to the analysis of environmental and economic issues. In using this approach, the SEEA CF applies the accounting concepts, structures, rules and principles of the (SNA). Environmental-economic accounts deliver important extensions to SNA accounts. In practice these accounts may include Physical Supply and Use tables, functional accounts (such as environmental expenditure accounts), and asset accounts for natural resources.

For this account the Physical Supply and Use tables align with the SEEA CF where possible. It differs from the SEEA CF in that a separation between residual flows and product flows is not identified. In addition there has been no identification of flows to and from the environment.

Supply and use of solid waste in the account

The Physical Supply table records the total supply of solid waste products within the economy (including imports). The Physical Use table records the total use of solid waste materials within the economy (including exports).


The SEEA CF (paragraph 3.269) defines solid waste as:

"...discarded materials that are no longer required by the owner or user. Where the unit discarding the materials receives no payment for the materials then the flow is considered a residual flow of solid waste. Where the unit discarding the materials receives a payment but the actual residual value of the material is small - for example in the case of scrap metal sold to a recycling firm - this flow is considered a product flow of solid waste."

The waste Physical Supply and Use tables present detailed physical data (tonnes) in terms of the supply and use of solid waste in the Australian economy for the financial year 2016-17.

The National Waste Report (NWR) 2018 compiles solid waste data provided by the states, territories and industry for the 2016-17 financial year. It presents data on solid waste sent for recycling, energy recovery from solid waste, and the disposal of solid waste to landfill. The report presents data by material category and material type. NWR is funded by DoEE and is a key data source for this account.

Monetary Supply tables illustrate the income generated by the supply of waste management service and sales of recovered waste material. The Monetary Use tables illustrate expenditure on waste management services and the purchase of recovered waste material.

Other tables provide data on the Waste Collection, Treatment and Disposal Services industry, waste intensity and e-waste. The e-waste data relates only to domestic supply and use.


Coverage for both the Physical Supply and Use tables includes the following waste categories and materials:

Waste categoryWaste type
Masonry materials
Rubble (including non-hazardous foundry sands)
Plasterboard & cement sheeting
Non-ferrous metals (excluding aluminium)
Food organics
Garden organics
Other organics
Non-contaminated biosolids
Paper & Cardboard
Liquid paperboard
Newsprint & magazines
Office paper
Polyethylene terephthalate (PET)
High density polyethylene (HDPE)
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
Low density polyethylene (LDPE)
Polypropylene (PP)
Polystyrene (PS)
Other plastics
Textiles, leather & rubber (excluding tyres)
Leather & rubber (excluding tyres)
Hazardous waste
Other Hazardous Waste
Ash from coal fired power stations
Other unclassified materials

The following waste materials were out of scope and were excluded from the Physical Supply and Use tables:

  • Primary production waste
  • Waste managed entirely on-site (own use of waste)
  • Liquid waste
  • Radioactive waste
  • Waste-water (untreated effluent, sewage water and trade waste)
  • Emissions.

Industry classifications used for both the Monetary and Physical Supply and Use tables follow the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 2006 (cat. no. 1292.0). Businesses are allocated to a specific industry classification based on their primary business activity. The classifications used in the tables are:

  • Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
  • Mining
  • Manufacturing
  • Electricity, Gas & Water Services - Division D excluding Subdivision 29
  • Waste Collection, Treatment and Disposal Services - Subdivision 29
  • Construction
  • Public Administration and Safety
  • All Other Industries.

All Other Industries consists of:

  • Wholesale Trade
  • Retail trade
  • Accommodation and Food Services
  • Transport, Postal and Warehousing
  • Information Media and Telecommunications
  • Financial and Insurance Services
  • Rental, Hiring and Real Estate Services
  • Professional, Scientific and Technical Services
  • Administrative and Support Services
  • Education and Training
  • Health Care and Social Assistance
  • Arts and Recreation Services
  • Other Services.

Data sources

The estimates contained in this publication are drawn from a range of data sources, including:


Physical supply (generation) of waste

The NWR presents physical waste data for each waste type at state/territory level, for the waste generation streams: Municipal Solid Waste (MSW), Commercial and Industrial (C&I) and Construction and Demolition (C&D).

Data in the NWR were not complete for each waste type in each waste category. Where the data sources were not available for a given waste fate or state/territory, estimates were derived using the proportions from the available data. The level of imputation varies between product type, depending on available data. All product types sum to respective group totals. State/territory data was then aggregated to national level.

Waste generation by households

The MSW stream was used to estimate household waste. MSW includes waste collected directly (e.g. kerbside collections of recycling and waste to landfill) and indirectly (e.g. householder drop off at transfer stations, householder self-haul to landfill) from households. It also includes a small portion of C&I waste where local governments provide (directly or indirectly) a collection service that covers businesses and households.

Waste generation by industry

The Australian National Accounts: Input-Output Tables (Product Details), 2015-16 (cat. no. 5215.0.55.001) were used to allocate waste generated to industries, with the exception of the Construction industry. In these tables, each product balance describes the supply (domestic output and imports) and the use (intermediate consumption and final demand) of the product at a detailed level. The intermediate use of specific products were aggregated to certain waste flow categories for specific industries listed above. This assumes that intermediate use of a product is proportionate to waste generation in the material type of that product. For example, higher intermediate use of clay bricks by an industry results in higher waste generation of bricks by that industry. For the Construction industry C&D data was used directly from the NWR.

Physical waste use (management)

The NWR presents physical waste data for each waste fate (use by the Waste Management Industry): Landfill, Recycling, Energy Recovery, Treatment, Other Disposal. These are presented at state-level for each waste generation stream. These streams and states were aggregated to the national level, to represent total physical volumes of each waste type, sent to each waste fate.

Product supply in the Australian National Accounts: Input-Output Tables, 2016-17 (cat. no. 5209.0.55.001) for supply of the product Input-Output Product Classification (IOPC) 2901 (Waste Collection, Treatable and Disposal Services) was used to calculate the proportion of Waste Services supplied by all industries. The totals in the NWR for each waste fate were allocated across industry according to these proportions.

It is understood that waste management services (such as recycling) occur within industries other than those identified here, however income for these services are not currently identifiable.

Several assumptions were made in this process:

  • That the Construction industry does not engage in energy recovery through waste;
  • That Households have no use of waste products;
  • That the Mining industry has no use of waste products. This is based on research indicating that most of the income Mining receives from the product Input-Output Product Classification 2901 (Waste Collection, Treatment and Disposal Services) is from land reclamation and the treatment of mining waste, rather than the use of the waste products.

The waste fates are split out under the Waste Collection, Treatment and Disposal Services industry (ANZSIC subdivision 29) in the Physical Use table. For all other industries in this table, all waste fates are combined and represented by a single figure for the physical use of waste.

E-waste physical supply and use

The NWR does not provide detailed data on e-waste. Instead these data were provided by Blue Environment Consulting using models for national e-waste supply and use. This was provided as generation by households and all industry. Industry was disaggregated into each industry group, using intermediate use of electronic products in Australian National Accounts: Input-Output Tables (Product Details), 2015-16 (cat. no. 5215.0.55.001). As with the main Physical Supply and Use tables, it was assumed that high intermediate use of an electronic product by an industry indicated proportionately high generation of e-waste.

E-waste tables only refer to domestic supply and use. Data in these tables are included in the main Physical Supply and Use tables under the respective waste categories and not separately as 'e-waste'.

Waste import and exports

Imports and exports of waste products are components of the Physical Supply and Use tables. Imports and exports classified as waste were identified by using Australian Harmonized Export Commodity Classification (AHECC) and Harmonised Tariff Item Statistical Classification (HTISC) and were based on a reference list used by ABS to provide monthly waste export data to DoEE. These reference codes are used to calculate amount of waste (physical and monetary) entering and exiting Australia.

Export data were subtracted from recycling totals for use by the Waste Collection, Treatment and Disposal Services industry. It is understood that some waste exports may occur outside of what is managed by the Waste Collection, Treatment and Disposal Services industry (i.e. prior to collection) and thus would not be fully represented in the NWR. Therefore when exports were greater than recycling totals, it was assumed 100% of the recycling stream for that material is exported and the additional tonnage was added to the Supply table totals.

Import data is additional to what is reported in the NWR. Import codes (HTISC) were concorded with IOPC codes. In the Physical Use table, use of imported non-hazardous waste was allocated to industries using the proportions of intermediate use of the various IOPCs by industry, as presented in the Australian National Accounts: Input-Output tables, 2015-16 (cat. no. 5209.055.001), with the exception of the Waste Collection, Treatment and Disposal Services industry. It was assumed the Waste Collection, Treatment and Disposal Services industry does not import non-hazardous waste products, and that it is the only industry that imports hazardous waste products.

Monetary Supply and Use

The Monetary Supply and Use tables present time-series data from ABS Supply-Use tables for Waste Collection, Treatment and Disposal Services (IOPC 2901) for industry groups in basic and purchasers' prices. Both supply and use of Waste services by industry and household for the period 2007-08 to 2016-17 are published. This IOPC includes the provision of services and income from the sale of recyclate. It is currently not possible to split waste management services from the sale of the recyclate.

Summary and key indicators

The Waste Summary, by Industry table, includes expenditure on waste services, waste generation and waste intensity, across key industries. Total waste generation is given in tonnes and Gross Value Added (GVA) in $m for 2016-17. Waste intensity is then calculated for each industry as waste generation divided by GVA (t / $m).

Key statistics for the Waste Collection, Treatment and Disposal Services industry (ANZSIC subdivsion 29), including employment figures, compensation of employees, gross operating surplus and GVA for the 2007-08 to 2016-17 financial year are presented. This data is from Australian Industry, 2017-18 (cat. no. 8155.0) and Australian National Accounts: Supply Use Tables, 2016-17 (cat. no. 5217.0).


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Aluminium is a chemical element and a soft, ductile metal.


The solid remains of fires and refers to all non-aqueous, non-gaseous residues that remain after something is burned. In this publication, ash refers to fly ash, a pre-consumer waste generated during the combustion of coal for electricity generation.


A sticky, black, and highly viscous liquid or semi-solid form of petroleum, also know as bitumen.

Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 2006

The ANZSIC is the standard classification used in Australia and New Zealand for the collection, compilation, and publication of industry statistics.

Basic price

The amount receivable by the producer from the purchaser for a unit of a good or service produced as output, minus any tax payable plus any subsidy receivable on that unit as a consequence of its production or sale; it excludes any transport charges invoiced separately by the producer.


Treated sewage sludges.


A building material used to make walls, pavements and other elements in masonry construction. Traditionally, the term brick referred to a unit composed of clay, but it is now used to denote rectangular units made of clay-bearing soil, sand, and lime, or concrete materials.

Cement sheeting

Also know as fibro, it is a building material used to cover the exterior of a building in both commercial and domestic applications.

Commercial & Industrial waste (C&I)

A category in the National Waste Report. Waste that is produced by institutions and businesses; includes waste from schools, restaurants, offices, retail and wholesale businesses, and industries including manufacturing. C&I waste does not include waste from the construction and demolition (C&D) sector.

Commingled materials

Materials mixed together, such as plastic bottles with glass and metal containers. Commingled recyclable materials require sorting after collection before they can be recycled.

Compensation of employees

Total remuneration, in cash or in kind, payable by an enterprise to an employee in return for work done by the employee during the accounting period. It is further classified into two sub-components: wages and salaries; and employers’ social contributions. Compensation of employees is not payable in respect of unpaid work undertaken voluntarily, including the work done by members of a household within an unincorporated enterprise owned by the same household. Compensation of employees excludes any taxes payable by the employer on the wage and salary bill (e.g. payroll tax). 


A composite material composed of fine and coarse aggregate bonded together with a fluid cement (cement paste) that hardens over time.

Construction & Demolition waste (C&D)

A category in the National Waste Report. Refers to waste produced by demolition and building activities, including road and rail construction and maintenance and excavation of land associated with construction activities. The C&D waste stream usually covers only some of the generation, disposal and recycling of C&D wastes, as these materials can also be found in the MSW and C&I streams, or as hazardous wastes.

Current prices

Estimates are valued at the prices of the period to which the observation relates. For example, estimates for this financial year are valued using this financial year’s prices. This contrasts to chain volume measures where the prices used in valuation refer to the prices of the previous year.

Disposed waste

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. For facilities other than landfill, quantities disposed refer to waste that is sent to disposal facilities operated by either the same or a different organisation.

Domestic recycling

A resource recovery method involving the collection and processing of waste for use as a raw material in the manufacture of the same or similar non-waste product. In this publication domestic recycling refers only to the collection and sorting of waste intended for secondary use in domestic production.


Electrical and electronic equipment that is dependent on electric currents or electromagnetic fields in order to function (including all components, subassemblies and consumables which are part of the original equipment at the time of discarding. E-waste may include:

  1.  consumer/entertainment electronics (e.g. televisions, DVD players & tuners)
  2.  devices of office, information & communications technology (e.g. computers, telephones & mobile phones)
  3.  household appliances (e.g. fridges, washing machines & microwaves)
  4.  lighting devices (e.g. desk lamps)
  5.  power tools
  6.  devices used for sport & leisure including toys (e.g. fitness machines & remote control cars).


The release of a particular gas to the atmosphere as a result of a certain activity. Emissions can be of the following four types:

  1. Generated - the gross result of a process or activity 
  2. Recovered - the diversion of emissions for use in a secondary process, such as power generation 
  3. Sinks - the process of removing carbon from the atmosphere 
  4. Net emissions - remaining gas released to the atmosphere after generation, recovery and sinks are taken into account

Energy recovery

A waste fate in which a substantial portion of the embodied energy in a waste is recovered.

Environmental account

An information system and framework that links the economic activities and uses of a resource to changes in the natural resource base, therefore linking resource use with the System of National Accounts. See also SEEA.


Goods exported (exports) represent the quantity of goods sent to other countries, or for which ownership changes from residents to non-residents.

Ferrous metals

Metals which contain iron (e.g. cast iron, steel).

Final use

Use that finally consumes a product, as opposed to an intermediate use. Final use includes: household final consumption; government final consumption; exports; and changes in inventories.

Food organics

Unwanted or leftover food scraps and can be classified as 'unavoidable' (non-edible peelings) or 'avoidable' (leftover food).

Garden organics

Typically garden organic 'wastes' that arise from gardening and maintenance activities, such as lawn clippings and branches.


Glass is an amorphous (non-crystalline) solid material. Glass is typically brittle and optically transparent. Glass is produced by fusion, usually consisting of mutually dissolved silica and silicates that also contain soda and lime, as in the ordinary variety used for windows and bottles.

Government final consumption expenditure

Net expenditure on goods and services by public authorities, other than those classified as public corporations, which does not result in the creation of fixed assets or inventories or in the acquisition of land and existing buildings or second-hand assets. It comprises expenditure on compensation of employees (other than those charged to capital works, etc.), goods and services (other than fixed assets and inventories) and consumption of fixed capital. Expenditure on repair and maintenance of roads is included. Fees, etc., charged by general government bodies for goods sold and services rendered are offset against purchases. Net expenditure overseas by general government bodies and purchases from public corporations are included. Expenditure on defence assets is classified as gross fixed capital formation.

Gross operating surplus (GOS)

The operating surplus accruing to all enterprises, except unincorporated enterprises, from their operations in Australia. It is the excess of gross output over the sum of intermediate consumption, compensation of employees, and taxes less subsidies on production and imports. It is calculated before deduction of consumption of fixed capital, dividends, interest, royalties and land rent, and direct taxes payable, but after deducting the inventory valuation adjustment. Gross operating surplus is also calculated for general government and it equals general government's consumption of fixed capital.

Gross value added (GVA)

The value of output at basic prices minus the value of intermediate consumption at purchasers' prices. The term is used to describe gross product by industry and by sector. Basic prices valuation of output removes the distortion caused by variations in the incidence of commodity taxes and subsidies across the output of individual industries.

Hazardous waste

Hazardous, special, listed or prescribed wastes, that are potentially harmful to human health or the environment, requiring special treatment. Examples include waste oils, organic chemicals, contaminated earth, medical wastes, asbestos, acids, reactive chemicals, pesticides and radioactive material.

High density polyethylene (HDPE)

A thermoplastic polymer produced from the monomer ethylene. With a high strength-to-density ratio, HDPE is used in the production of plastic bottles, corrosion-resistant piping, geomembranes and plastic lumber. HDPE is commonly recycled, and has the number '2' as its resin identification code.


A group of two or more related or unrelated people who usually reside in the same dwelling, who regard themselves as a household, and who make common provision for food or other essentials for living; or a person living in a dwelling who makes provision for his/her own food and other essentials for living, without combining with any other person.

Household final consumption expenditure

Net expenditure on goods and services by persons and expenditure of a current nature by private non-profit institutions serving households. This item excludes by unincorporated businesses and expenditures on assets by non-profit institutions (included in gross fixed capital formation). Also excluded is expenditure on maintenance of dwellings (treated as intermediate expenses of private enterprises), but personal expenditure on motor vehicles and other durable goods and the imputed rent of owner-occupied dwellings are included. The value of 'backyard' production (including food produced and consumed on farms) is included in household final consumption expenditure and the payment of wages and salaries in kind (e.g. food and lodging supplied free to employees) is counted in both household income and household final consumption expenditure.


Goods imported (imports) represent the quantity of goods received from other countries or for which ownership changes from non-residents to residents.


Intensity is a measure of the environmental recourse consumed to produce one unit of economic output.

Intermediate consumption

Intermediate consumption consists of the value of the goods and services used as inputs by a process of production, excluding the compensation of employees and consumption of fixed capital.

Intermediate use

Intermediate use consists of goods and services consumed as inputs by a process of production, excluding fixed assets whose consumption is recorded as consumption of fixed capital. The goods or services may be either transformed or used up by the production process.


A site used for disposal of solid material (i.e. is spadeable) by burial in the ground between layers of earth.


A durable and flexible material created by tanning animal rawhides and skins.

Liquid paperboard (LPB)

A material constructed from paperboard with layers of plastic, and in the case of long-life products, a thin layer of aluminium foil and used in beverage cartons.

Liquid waste

Wastes that are not solid or gaseous. May refer to sludges and slurries, or other liquids discharged to sewer. May also refer to waste water. Liquid waste means any waste that:

  1.  has an angle of repose less than 5 degrees above horizontal, or
  2.  becomes free-flowing at or below 60 degrees Celsius or when it is transported, or
  3.  is generally not capable of being picked up by a spade or shovel.

Low density polyethylene (LDPE)

A thermoplastic made from the monomer ethylene.

Masonry materials

Masonry materials include asphalt, bricks, concrete, clay, fines, rubble and soil. Waste produced by demolition and building activities, including road and rail construction and maintenance and excavation of land associated with construction activities.


There are two main categories of metals: ferrous and non-ferrous. Metals which contain iron in them are known as ferrous where metals without iron are non-ferrous. Common non-ferrous metals are copper, brass, aluminium, zinc, magnesium, tin, nickel, and lead. Non-ferrous metals also include precious and exotic metals. Precious metals are metals with a high market value in any form, such as gold, silver and platinum. The more frequently recycled metals are scrap steel, iron, lead, aluminium, copper, stainless steel and zinc.

Municipal Solid Waste (MSW)

A category in the NWR. Waste produced primarily by households and council facilities, including biodegradable material, recyclable materials such as bottles, paper and cardboard and aluminium cans, and a wide range of non-degradable material including paint, appliances, old furniture and household lighting.

National Accounts

Systematic summary of national economic activity. At a detailed level it shows a statistical picture of the performance and structure of the economy. See SNA.


A low-cost, non-archival paper consisting mainly of wood pulp and most commonly used to print newspapers, other publications and advertising material.

Non-ferrous metals

Those metals that contain very little or no iron (e.g. copper, brass and bronze).

Office paper

Waste paper grade paper of the type usually generated by an office such as paper used by a computer printer, fax machine, copier, adding machine or other piece of office equipment or ledger papers or other papers that are commonly accepted by office paper recycling services.

Organic waste

Component of the waste stream from plant or animal sources that is readily biodegradable, e.g. food waste, biosolids, green waste and timber.

Paper & cardboard

Various forms of paper and cardboard which can be recycled and reused include cardboard boxes, newspaper, office paper, envelopes, junk mail, cards milk and juice cartons. The main component of paper and cardboard is cellulose fibre.


A board made of plaster set between two sheets of paper, used especially to form or line the inner walls of houses.


Any of a group of synthetic or natural organic materials that may be shaped when soft and then hardened, including many types of resins, resinoids, polymers, cellulose derivatives, casein materials, and proteins: used in place of other materials such as glass, wood, and metals, in construction and decoration, for making many articles, as coatings, and drawn into filaments, for weaving.

Polyethylene terephthalate (PET)

The most common thermoplastic polymer resin of the polyester family and is used in fibres for clothing, containers for liquids and foods, thermoforming for manufacturing and in combination with glass fibre for engineering resins.

Polypropylene (PP)

Also known as polypropene, it is a thermoplastic polymer used in a wide variety of applications. It is produced via chain-growth polymerization from the monomer propylene.

Polystyrene (PS)

One of the most widely used plastics, it is a synthetic aromatic hydrocarbon polymer made from the monomer styrene. Polystyrene can be solid or foamed and general-purpose polystyrene is clear, hard, and rather brittle.

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)

It is the world's third-most widely produced synthetic plastic polymer and comes in two basic forms: rigid and flexible. The rigid form of PVC is used in construction for pipe and in profile applications such as doors and windows. It is also used in making bottles, non-food packaging, food-covering sheets, and cards (such as bank or membership cards).

Purchasers' price

The amount paid by the purchaser, excluding any deductible tax, in order to take delivery of a unit of a good or service at the time and place required by the purchaser. The purchaser’s price of a good includes any transport charges paid separately by the purchaser to take delivery at the required time and place.


Material able to be processed for recycling in a facility. Sometimes used only to refer to materials actually recovered from recycling, excluding residual wastes.


A resource recovery method involving the collection and processing of waste for use as a raw material in the manufacture of the same or similar non-waste product.

Recycling rate

Is calculated as 'recycling by waste management industry' plus 'exports' divided by 'total waste generation' for a given material.


A concentration of naturally occurring solid, liquid, or gaseous materials in or on the earth’s crust and in such form that its economic extraction is presently or potentially feasible. The definition does not intend to imply that exploitation of any such material will take place in that time span, but only that its possibility might reasonably be considered.

Resource recovery

The process of extracting materials or energy from a waste stream through re-use (using the product for the same or a different purpose without further production), recycling or recovering energy from waste. 


Reallocation of products or materials to a new owner or purpose without reprocessing or remanufacture, but potentially with some repair (e.g. repair of pallets for resale).


It consists of polymers of the organic compound isoprene, with minor impurities of other organic compounds, plus water. It is used extensively in many applications and products, either alone or in combination with other materials. In most of its useful forms, it has a large stretch ratio and high resilience, and is extremely waterproof.


It is broken stone, of irregular size, shape and texture; undressed especially as a filling-in.


Material that:

  1.  has an angle of repose of greater than 5 degrees
  2.  does not contain, or is not comprised of, any free liquids
  3.  does not contain, or is not comprised of, any liquids that are capable of being released when the waste is transported 
  4.  does not become free flowing at or below 60 degrees Celsius or when It is transported
  5.  is generally capable of being moved by a spade at normal temperatures (i.e. is spadeable).

Solid waste

Waste materials ranging from municipal garbage to industrial waste, but excluding gaseous, liquid, hazardous, clinical and intractable wastes.


A physical state of a material where the material behaves sufficiently like a solid to be moved by a spade at normal outdoor temperatures.


An alloy of iron and carbon, and sometimes other elements. Because of its high tensile strength and low cost, it is a major component used in buildings, infrastructure, tools, ships, automobiles, machines, appliances, and weapons.

Subsidy on product

A subsidy payable per unit of a good or service.

Supply table

A supply table at purchasers’ prices consists of a rectangular matrix. The rows correspond to the same groups of products as the matching use tables and the columns correspond to the supply from domestic production valued at basic prices. There are also columns for imports and the valuation adjustments necessary to record total supply of each group.

Supply-use framework

An accounting framework utilising the basic principle that the total supply of a product is equal to its total use.

System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA)

The SEEA is a framework used to develop environmental accounts by integrating environmental information into an accounting framework. The SEEA handbook provides the conceptual basis for developing a framework to describe the inter-relationship between the natural environment and the economy. See also Environmental account.

System of National Accounts (SNA)

The SNA is an international framework which can be used to develop a comprehensive, consistent and flexible set of macroeconomic accounts.

Taxes less subsidies on production and imports

Defined as ‘taxes on products’ plus ‘other taxes on production’ less 'subsidies on products' less 'other subsidies on production'.

Taxes on production and imports

Consist of ‘taxes on products’ and ‘other taxes on production’. These taxes do not include any taxes on the profits or other income received by an enterprise. They are payable irrespective of the profitability of the production process. They may be payable on the land, fixed assets or labour employed in the production process, or on certain activities or transactions. See also Taxes on products.

Taxes on products

Taxes payable per unit of some good or service. The tax may be a specific amount of money per unit of quantity of a good or service (quantity being measured either in terms of discrete units or continuous physical variables such as volume, weight, strength, distance, time, etc.), or it may be calculated ad valorem as a specified percentage of the price per unit or value of the goods or services transacted. A tax on a product usually becomes payable when the product is produced, sold or imported, but it may also become payable in other circumstances, such as when a good is exported, leased, transferred, delivered, or used for own consumption or own capital formation. See also Taxes on production and imports.


It is a flexible material consisting of a network of natural or artificial fibres (yarn or thread).

Total supply

Australian production plus imports.


The removal, reduction or immobilisation of hazardous characteristics to enable the waste to be sent to its final fate or further treatment.

Use table

A use table at purchasers’ prices consists of a set of product balances covering all products supplied within an economy arranged in the form of a rectangular matrix with the products, valued at purchasers’ prices, appearing in the rows and the columns indicating the disposition of these products to various types of uses.


Waste is:

  1. any substance that is discarded, emitted or deposited in the environment in such volume, constituency or manner as to cause an alteration in the environment
  2. any discarded, rejected, unwanted, surplus or abandoned substance
  3. any otherwise discarded, rejected, unwanted, surplus or abandoned substance intended for sale or for recycling, reprocessing, recovery, or purification by a separate operation from that which produced the substance.

Waste account

An environmental account consisting of physical supply table which records the total supply of solid waste products within the economy (including imports), and physical use table which records the total use of solid waste materials within the economy (including exports).

Waste category

A broad level grouping for waste. The categories in the Waste Account are masonry materials; metals; organics; paper and cardboard; plastics; glass; textiles, leather & rubber; hazardous waste, ash; other.

Waste collection, treatment & disposal services industry

Can include any combination of collection, transport, recycling, treatment, processing, disposal, managing and monitoring of waste materials (ANZSIC Division D, subdivision 29).

Waste diversion

The redirection of waste from a disposal facility to a recycling or energy recovery facility.

Waste fate

The ultimate destination of waste within the management system. The fates of waste are recycling, energy recovery, disposal and long-term storage.

Waste generation

The process of producing waste. The sum of the quantities of waste taken to waste management facilities or added to on-site stockpiles.

Waste management

The activities through which a waste is dealt with, in infrastructure approved to receive it.

Waste product

Where the owner/discarder of the waste materials receives an income for the waste.

Waste streams

The sector where the waste is produced; the source from which the waste is obtained. There are three main waste streams:

  1. Municipal Solid Waste: waste from municipal kerbside garbage and recycling collections, council garbage from litter bins, council waste from parks and gardens, and domestic waste brought to landfills and transfer stations. 
  2. Commercial and Industrial: waste generated by businesses, state and federal government and education, excluding waste collected by municipal collections. 
  3. Construction and Demolition: waste from residential, civil and commercial construction & demolition (e.g. bricks, concrete, rubble, soil, rock).

Waste type

A sub-category of the waste category which provides further breakdown of the waste materials.

Quality declaration - summary

Institutional environment

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 Waste Account, Australia, Experimental Estimates, 2016-17 (cat. no. 4602.0.55.005) is part of a set of environmental-economic accounts produced by the ABS. It consists of supply and use tables (collectively referred to as flow tables) for physical volumes and related monetary information. The aim of this publication is to integrate data from different sources into a consolidated information set making it possible to link physical data on waste to economic data. Environmental-economic accounts can facilitate analyses of a range of issues including a broader assessment of the consequences of economic growth and implications of environmental policy measures across sectors (for example, regulation, charges and incentives).

This publication was developed using the United Nations System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA). The SEEA was adopted as an international statistical standard in 2012. Environmental accounts extend the boundaries of the System of National Accounts (SNA) framework to include environmental resources, which occur outside the economic production and asset boundaries measured by the SNA.


The Waste Account, Australia, Experimental Estimates, 2016-17 (cat. no. 4602.0.55.005) was compiled using ABS and non-ABS data sources (see Explanatory Notes) from varying reference periods based on availability and quality. The baseline year of the physical supply/use tables is 2016-17 (financial year).


Data for the Waste Account, Australia, Experimental Estimates, 2016-17 (cat. no. 4602.0.55.005) were obtained from a range of ABS and Commonwealth agency sources. These sources have varying degrees of consistency and reliability. Where possible comparisons were made with other available data sources. For more information please see Explanatory Notes.


The Waste Account, Australia, Experimental Estimates, 2016-17 (cat. no. 4602.0.55.005) and is based on the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA) framework. Where possible comparisons were made with other available data sources.


The Main Findings section provides extensive analysis and commentary. This section uses commentary and graphs to guide reader understanding and interpretation of the detailed data tables. The Explanatory Notes provide further guidance on the data used; along with links to supporting environmental accounts publications for further information on concepts, methodologies and data sources.


The data contained in this publication comprise the full detail of data compiled for the Waste Account, Australia, Experimental Estimates, 2016-17 and as such it would not be possible to provide any further information beyond what is presented in the publication. Tables contained in this publication are available in spreadsheet format in the Data downloads section on the Topic page. For more detail on the publication please contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070. The ABS Privacy Policy outlines how the ABS will handle any personal information that you provide to us.


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$mmillion dollars
ABSAustralian Bureau of Statistics
AHECCAustralian Harmonized Export Commodity Classification
ANZSICAustralian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification
bpbasic prices
cat. no.Catalogue number
C&DConstruction and Demolition
C&ICommercial and Industrial
CPIConsumer Price Index
DoEEDepartment of the Environment and Energy
e-wasteElectrical and electronic waste
GDPGross Domestic Product
GVAGross Value Added
HDPEHigh density polyethylene
HFCEHousehold Final Consumption Expenditure
IOPCInput-Output Product Classification
ISICInternational Standard of Industry Classification
LDPELow Density Polyethylene
MSWMunicipal Solid Waste
NPVNet Present Value
NWRNational Waste Report
PETPolyethylene terephthalate
pppurchasers' prices
PSUTPhysical Supply and Use Tables
PVCpolyvinyl chloride
SEEASystem of Environmental-Economic Accounting
SNASystem of National Accounts
UNUnited Nations
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