Environment

Poor record on waste

A new report has found Western Australia generated more waste than any other state over the last few years.

The National Waste Report, commissioned by the Department of the Environment and Energy, is published every three years and calculates the amount of waste produced by each state.

According to the latest report, WA generated the most waste of all the states, excluding fly ash, and was second to Queensland when fly ash was included in the data collection.

The report said WA only reused 42 per cent of construction and demolition waste, 22 per cent below the national average.

Department of Water and Environmental Regulation manager of policy in waste strategy Scott McKenzie said WA had a high waste generation rate in that area because Perth had experienced a period of increased construction.

He said the main initiatives to tackle such waste were the Recycled Construction Products Program and the increase in the landfill levy over a four year period from 2015-2019.

“This program provides an incentive for local government and others to use recyclable construction and demolition products in civil construction projects,“ he said.

“The landfill levy acts as an incentive to divert waste from landfill and also encourage investment in alternative options such as recycling activities.”

Curtin University sustainability lecturer Atiq Zaman said the landfill levy could reduce waste generation but it was a long-term solution.

“Indirectly it might act as a driver to reduce waste generation, but directly it will improve waste recycling activities,” he said.

The report stated WA’s construction and demolition recovery target was 75 per cent by 2020.

The report also found WA re-used 9 per cent less household waste than the national average.

Mr McKenzie said initiatives such as the Better Bins program aimed to decrease the amount of household waste reaching landfill.

He said the Better Bins program was a three-bin system which allowed waste to be separated at the source rather than at the facility. This had been proven to increase recycling.

“At least 10 councils have signed up to the Better Bins program,” he said.

“About 30 per cent of Perth’s population will have those better practice services available or being rolled out.”

Dr Zaman said we could make significant changes to reduce waste at a household level.

“We need to consider what we need to buy, what we don’t need to buy. Our consumption behaviour needs to change to reduce generation because waste is related to consumption,” he said.

The Waste and Recycle 2017 Conference was held at Crown Perth last week.

Categories: Environment

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