Australia is one of the countries with the highest per capita waste generation.
This means that on average each person in Australia produces more waste than other individuals in almost all other countries. Each Australian household generates approximately 400 kilos of waste per year.
-photo to the left was taken by Stephen Murray. Click here to see more work by this photographer.–
The most common form of hazardous waste generated by Australians is in the form of batteries.
All kinds of batteries contain hazardous chemicals and substances. There are toxic and corrosive chemicals in the batteries that can leach into groundwater if these batteries are not disposed of properly. Lead batteries that are used in automobiles are particularly toxic.
Items made of plastic are the major source of trash in Australia.
In 2003 the percentage of plastics in the trash increased to 36% as compared to 33% in 2002. Plastics are made from fossil fuels. Making plastic from recycled materials uses only 30% of the energy required to make plastic products from fossil fuels.
Interesting Facts About Recycling in Australia / Newsprint & Electronics
Australians used 685,000 tons of newsprint in 2002 and recycled 500,000 tons.
–The picture to the left represents pencils made from recycled newspapers. Photo is by Allison Gamm.–
This amount is equivalent to 1 billion newspapers. And as of 2008, Australia leads the world as the number one recycler of old newspapers.
Most of this amount was processed through curbside collection systems.
The increased prevalence of electronics in Australia results in an increased generation of electronics scrap.
In 2002 there were about 9 million computers, 5 million printers, and 2 million scanners being used in households and businesses across Australia. All of these units will be replaced in the next few years.
Interesting Facts About Recycling in Australia / Hazardous Waste
Australian households generate a variety of hazardous wastes and about 86 percent of these use their usual waste disposal system to dispose of these waste.
-Photo to the left is by Gwen.–
Hazardous waste represents a major threat to the environment and these materials and chemicals should be disposed of in a proper manner to avoid damage to the environment.
In 2003 83% of households that disposed of hazardous materials did not use safe methods of disposal. Of the total number of people that disposed of these materials without using safe disposal facilities 60% were aware that such facilities existed.
95% of Australian households recycled their waste and around 83% reused their waste.
High levels of recycling are shown in all states and territories. These levels have remained unchanged from 2000 to 2003.
Interesting Facts About Recycling in Australia / Steel Cans, Aluminum & Other Recyclable Items
Over 80% of Australian households recycled or reused glass, paper and cardboard, plastic bags and plastic bottles, and old clothing.
The most recycled items were paper and cardboard with 88% of households recycling these materials.
–The picture to the left represents recycled glass. The Photo to the left is by BeautyInDetails.–
Of all the steel cans used in Australia in 2002, 48,500 tons were recycled.
This volume of steel is 4 times the quantity needed to build the Harbour Bridge.
Australia recycled more than 31,000 tons of aluminum drink cans in 2003.
That amount equals 63% of all the cans used in 2002 or 2 billion individual aluminum cans. Twenty aluminum cans can be recycled with the same energy required to produce one new can from raw materials. Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a television for three hours.
For more information on the importance of recycling follow these links: