Recycling in Victoria
Recovery of material in Victoria for the 2009-10 financial year increased by 15% to 7.51 million tonnes. Although total landfill waste increased by 1.7% from the previous year, the jump in recovered materials resulted in an overall recovery rate of 66% - the highest since records began.
Waste generation, Victoria 2000-01 to 2009-10
Victoria's recovery rate increased by two percentage points from 64% to 66% in 2009-10.
Resource recovery rate of solid waste, Victoria 2000-01 to 2009-10
Highlights in 2009-10
Victoria's current reprocessing capacity is predominantly local, with 92% of recovered material remaining in the State to be converted into new products by Victorian reprocessors. This figure, up from 86% the previous year, can be in-part attributed to improved capacities of local reprocessing facilities, as well as closer collaborations between the collectors, processors and traders of commercial waste.
Key increases from the 2009-10 survey include:
- Stronger metals prices and demands from the booming steel mills of North Asia resulted in a 28% jump in Victorian metal recovery to 1,408,000 tonnes in 2009-10 compared to 1,097,000 the previous year. The rise helped to reverse some of the negative outcomes of the previous year, when falling metals prices helped contribute to a 19% drop in local recovery. Metals other than steel also performed well, more than doubling the local recovery of aluminium.
- Victoria is still the leading Australian state in plastics recovery which climbed by 8% in 2009-10, to 154,000 tonnes - representing more than half of all the plastic recycled in Australia. A further drop in the state's plastics consumption, to 371,000 tonnes, produced an overall plastics recovery rate of 71% - an annual record.
- Recovery of construction and demolition material during the year increased by 21% to 3,823,000 tonnes, the largest increase in six years. Concrete accounted for 63% of this material, with recovery up 41% to 2,438,000 tonnes. Recyclers reported stronger collaboration with local construction and demolition companies, which are enjoying the dual benefits of reduced landfilling and processing costs, and cheaper recycled building materials.
- The total quantity of organic material recovered and diverted from landfill during 2009-10 rose to 924,000 tonnes, up 15% from the previous year. Garden organics continued to make up most of this material, fuelled by increased rainfall stimulating growth and notable increases in garden collections in bushfire-prone communities due to the Victorian Government's 10/30 rule (The State Government introduced the '10/30 rule' in August 2009 which allows residents in bushfire-prone areas to clear trees within 10 metres and shrubs within 30 metres of their homes without a permit.)
Key decreases from the 2009-10 survey include:
- The total amount of paper recovered for recycling from Victoria decreased by 12% to 999,000 tonnes. Much of the decline was due to exports of paper and cardboard dropping by more than half, possibly as a result of cheap paper products in global markets and the enduring strength of the Australian dollar.
- Total glass recovery fell by 16% to 156,000 tonnes, however, the longer term outlook is more promising, with the potential for glass to become widely used in a crushed form as a base for road and footpath construction.
- Of the material received for reprocessing during the 2009-10 financial year, 79% was sourced from industry: 47% from the rapidly increasing construction and demolition sector, and 32% from commercial and industrial operations.
- Life cycle analysis (LCA) modelling has shown the environmental benefits from reprocessing all material recovered in Victoria during 2009-10 would be equivalent to:
- saving more than 90 million gigajoules of energy
- preventing 4.5 million tonnes of greenhouse gases being emitted into the atmosphere
- saving 53 thousand megalitres of water.
In 2009-10, waste generation per capita rose to 2.09 tonnes, the highest figure since records began and an increase of 8.2% on the previous year. Against this increase, the amount of material recycled per capita also rose during the year, up 12.8% to 1.39 tonnes. Waste generation relative to Gross State Product (GSP) increased for the first time since 2005-06, climbing 7.8% on the previous year to 38.6 tonnes for every million dollars of GSP.
Total waste generation relative to economic and population trends, Victoria 1999-00 to 2008-09
Note: Historical figures have been recalculated and updated using rebased GSP figures sourced from the ABS and population figures sourced from the Department of Planning and Community Development.
- What is recycled in Victoria
- Where does the material come from?
- Sustainability: the benefits of recycling
- Read previous surveys
Top | Last updated 19/07/2012