Annual bill for household waste collection and disposal hits $600m

Local government spent $595 million on household waste collection, treatment, and disposal services in 2018-19, new statistics show.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Waste Account published last week showed households generated 12.4 million tonnes of waste in 2018-19.

This was 16 percent of all waste generated in Australia, and up five percent since 2016-17.

Households generated over half the country’s organic waste, 55 percent of all food organics, 47 percent of all plastics, 72 percent of all glass and nearly 90 percent of all textiles.

Australia generated 75.8 million tonnes of solid waste in 2018-19, which was a 10 percent increase over the past two years (since 2016-17).

The two higher waste-generating sectors were manufacturing and construction, with 12.8 million tonnes and 12.7 million tonnes respectively.

Over half of all waste was sent for recycling (38.5 million tonnes), while 27 percent was sent to landfill for disposal (20.5 million tonnes).

Waste exports totalled 4.4 million tonnes, with 2.5 million tonnes was imported.

The Waste Account has been developed by the ABS in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) to help inform Australia’s National Waste Policy.

In related news, the West Australian government has announced a new strategy to reduce single-use plastics.

The Plan for Plastics (PfP) will be rolled out in two main stages, with regulations being developed and implemented by 2023 for the state-wide phase-out of plastic plates, cutlery, stirrers, straws, thick plastic bags, polystyrene food containers and helium balloon releases.

This will be followed by the phase-out of plastic barrier/produce bags, cotton buds with plastic shafts, polystyrene packaging, microbeads, and oxo-degradable plastics.

Separate to the PfP, the government is consulting on an amendment to the Environmental Protection (Plastic Bags) Regulations 2018 to prohibit the use of plastic election bunting signage at polling places.

Click here for more information about the Plan for Plastics.