Sneak a peek at the 2020 National Waste Report

Did you know?

  • The amount of ash waste (mostly from coal-fired power stations) generated in Australia each year is “about the same as all household waste landfilled and recycled.”

  • 47% of the generated ash (5.9 million tonnes in 2018-2019) was recycled – primarily as a substitute material in the mining and construction industries. Non-Recycled material was placed in on-site ash dams.

  • 47% recycling of coal ash is much lower than the global average. Japan recycles 97%, China 70% and the UK 70%.

  • If we allow incineration of mixed waste to increase (commonly referred to as Waste to Energy) we will have more ash to recycle or dispose of? Not to mention the air pollution.

  • "About 80kt of tyre dust was left on our roads. Much of this would be washed into the ocean.”

  • Significant opportunities remain to improve the recovery of organic.? Of the 4.43million tonnes of non-hazardous food waste, about 3.76 million tonnes (85%) was deposited in landfill.


Are you curious to know about other wastes in the whole Australian economy? 

Here is a summary of the ‘material flows’ and you can find out more by reading the Report:


Ash 490kg 47% - From coal-fired power stations = domestic waste
Glass 46kg 59% 27% 90% was used for packaging
Hazardous 300kg 24% - Contaminated soils, asbestos. Some soil is treated
Masonry 909kg 82% - Bricks, concrete etc - largely turned into road base
Metals 223kg 90% 37% WINNERS! 86% steel, 8% aluminium, 6% others
Organics 593kg 60% - Manures, bagasse, mill mud, food organics (just 10%); compost, mulch, bio-solids applied to land
Paper + Cardboard 235kg 60% 52% More than half goes into packaging, then office paper, newsprint (less each year), tissues etc
Plastic 101kg 13% 4% One third used in items used for less than 1 year
Textiles 31kg 7% - Clothing, carpets, furniture coverings, rags etc. recycled textiles mostly exported
Tyres 18kg 30% 5% Most whole end of life tyres will be subject to new waste export bans
TOTAL 2,946kg      



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