Independent News For The Australian Public Service
Edition Number 400. Updated Tuesday, 11 March 2014

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War on waste being won

Australians are making great strides in waste management, but there is still room for improvement, according to the Minister for the Environment, Greg Hunt.

Announcing a new resource, National Waste Reporting 2013, the Minister said that between 2007 and 2011, Australians increased their recycling efforts from 21.4 million tonnes to 27.3 million tonnes per year.

They had also increased the amount of waste they convert to energy from about 1.32 million tonnes to 1.52 million tonnes per year.

The report is a new online resource that provides improved access to data about waste and recycling in Australia.

It draws on a range of commissioned research, published sources and information provided by Australian, State and Territory Governments, business, industry and community organisations.

It provides information on trends in waste management and identifies opportunities for better managing Australia's waste.

Report shows areas to improve

The Minister said the report showed that more waste needed to be removed and diverted from landfill.

He said it also showed that reducing the volume of organic waste going to landfill can reduce the amount of methane gas produced when organic material breaks down, harming the atmosphere.

Instead this material can become compost and soil conditioners.

Meanwhile, the Minister said that 40,000 tonnes of e-waste - televisions and computers that would have previously been stockpiled or sent to landfill ­­- had been recycled under the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme.

Industry supported the highest levels of e-waste recycling ever seen in Australia - recycling the equivalent of four Eiffel Towers in weight - according to a report on the outcomes of the scheme for 2012-13.

The Minister said that under the scheme, the television and computer industry's target for 2012-13 was to recycle 30 per cent of television and computer waste arising in Australia during the financial year, with the States and Territories responsible for the remaining 70 per cent.

Industry's recycling target will increase gradually to 80 per cent of the available waste in 2021-22.

The National Waste Reporting 2013 online resource is available at this PS News link.

For further information and to access the report on the e-waste scheme, visit this PS News link.

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