More waste created but recycling rates low

Rebecca Gredley
·1-min read

Australia created 76 million tonnes of waste in just one year, data reveals.

The latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics looks at waste created in the 2018/19 financial year, with the total amount generated a 10 per cent increase over two years.

Households were almost on par with the manufacturing and construction sectors in terms of waste generated, at more than 12 million tonnes each.

Two-and-a-half million tonnes of plastic waste was generated, with only nine per cent recycled, while 84 per cent was sent to landfill.

Households created the largest amount of plastic waste at close to half.

Recycling rates are much better for organic waste, with 42 per cent of the 15.3 million tonnes recycled.

Just under half was sent to landfill.

Tyres made up six per cent of hazardous waste, which totalled eight million tonnes in the period.

That equates to an increase of 23 per cent from the 2016/17 financial year.

Asian countries such as China have stopped taking waste exports, prompting the Morrison government to ban sending waste offshore.

While changes to beef up Australia's recycling are in the works, Labor MP Josh Wilson is astounded money hasn't been spent from a $100 million recycling fund announced in May last year.

"Over the past 18 months the Morrison government has littered the country with announcements, promises, and big claims when it comes to reducing waste and improving recycling," he said.

"But the numbers don't lie, and waste and recycling is worse on their watch."