Waste Produced at Different Kinds of Businesses in Australia

When we pull on the thread on recent waste facts of Australia, can you guess the exact number of waste produced by average Australian per year? It’s 2.7 tonnes. If you do a quick math and multiply the total population with this number, then the total waste every year is as frightening as it sounds.

Household waste takes a relatively small proportion of the total waste we dispose of every year. It’s the commercial and industrial waste that significantly stand out. Different businesses in Australia produce waste that in summary, costs billions of dollars to dispose of.

Let’s have a quick look at some updated waste related statistics of Australia which are verified by different research groups -

  • Australia produces around 64 million tonnes of waste per year.
  • That’s almost thrice compared to the total population of 24.6 million.
  • 9% of the total waste is considered hazardous.
  • Around 31.7 million tonnes of waste is recycled.
  • 2 million tonnes is used for energy recovery.
  • The rest goes into landfill.

So, where are all these rubbish coming from? In the following, we’re going to take a look at a few industries that produce the most waste. Along with focusing on the effects on the environment, we’ll attempt to devise a few ways to maintain waste management and proper recycling.

Food Industry

Food waste makes up a large proportion of waste produced by various businesses, including restaurants, hospitals, nursing homes, food manufacturers, supermarkets, and hotels. In Australia, 32% of the garbage contains the foods we throw off, which is estimated to be 1.3 billion tonnes of food a year. On average, waste management in the food industry cost us around $20 billion per year. Where scenarios like people being unable to eat and going to sleep hungry exist, these numbers are certainly unfortunate.

How to Minimise Food Waste:

Quite simply, the first thing we can do is reduce the amount of food we throw away each day. But the issue is not as simple as it might seem, and simple answers are not going to cut it. To improve further, food related industries should focus on conducting waste audits, which can provide some clues about the best way to improve efficiency in this kind of businesses. And more importantly, waste food can be and should be recovered and distributed to needy people and animals rather than simply being disposed of. The rest can be recycled as useful soil, fertilisers and others.

Construction Industry

The construction industry, including building, renovation and demolition; account for a huge portion of the produced waste in Australia. According to the most recent waste statistics of Australia, more than 20 million tonnes of waste is generated from construction sites every year. They contain various types of waste and leftovers, such as-

  • Debris
  • Lead pipe
  • Broken glass
  • Bricks, concrete
  • Wood
  • Petroleum distillates and used oil
  • Plastics

How to Minimise Construction Waste:

While the numbers and variations are alarming, fortunately, a large majority of these waste can be recycled and reused. Almost 70% of it finds the way back into use, and most of the materials tend to have values of some kind for many years.

So the solution is live, and the idea is to increase this recycling percentage going forward. We’ll have more to use and less construction waste to throw into landfill.

Electronics industry

According to the Bureau of Statistics in Australia, Electronic waste or E-waste is taking up three times the entire population of the country, and it is growing still. Used and corrupted computers, laptops, phones, fridges, televisions, printers and other electronic devices cover the largest portion of the landfill in Australia.

Technology is moving forward fast, as the equipment is being replaced continuously. For this reason, electronic waste is hard to recycle and re-use because we want to stay up to date. The amount of electronic waste thrown into the landfill over the course of a year is quite surprising. In fact, research shows that Australians buy 4 million computers and 3 million televisions every year, which goes a long way in explaining the problem.

How to Minimise E-Waste:

Although it is true that breaking down electronic components is complicated and time-consuming, they should be given the chance to re-use as much as possible. And when they become obsolete, you’ll find some recycling companies like ALDI, MobileMuster active in Australia that you can approach and dump your things.

Educational and Office Waste

You will be surprised to hear just how much waste is produced by the educational industry and business offices combined. There is a huge number of educational institutions and facilities, which employ and educate a large number of people. So naturally, a lot of food, paper and other waste is generated. On the other hand, offices are no different in producing waste from office appliances. These organizations go through a lot of computers, phones, kitchen appliances, televisions and various other electronic products as well.
Most of the offices don’t have an effective recycling plan. Statistics show that 37% of the businesses pile up everyday waste because of their careless recycling process. A typical waste bin in a commercial office can contain 75% of paper and cardboard, while the rest is filled with food waste and plastics.

How to Minimise Educational and Office Waste:

With the determination of maintaining waste management, educational and commercial spaces can use the necessities with concern and goodwill. You can also use waste collection services active in Australia to prevent overflow of your bin.

Chemical Industry

Chemical industries in Australia produce comparatively less waste than the mentioned industries, but the hazardous waste from these businesses can cause harm more than any other. Chemical and hazardous waste include flammable liquids or solids, combustible, toxic, ecotoxic, radioactive and infectious characteristics. There are also less harmful substances produced from these industries like rubble, brickwork, cement, building materials and others.

How to Take Care of Chemical and Hazardous Waste:

You need to be extra careful when you’re disposing this type of waste because of its environment threatening nature. Follow the government policies and regulations explained by the Environmental Protection Agency, and seek help from professional waste management services.

National and Social Awareness

Over the course of the whole writing, we’ve seen some unbelievable numbers in Australian waste statistics. But how to beat these numbers? How to do better and encourage a healthy, sustainable environment? Let’s take a look at some of the positive sides.

  1. According to the waste report from the Department of the Environment and Energy, we produce the same amount of waste as we did in the last 20 years. How is that possible, you ask? As we’ve grown in population, we generate twice as much waste in general. But the ratio of recycling is relatively proportional in accordance with waste production. So the amount of waste goes into landfill is still the same and that is a good thing.
  2. Did you know about the National Waste Policy of Australia? It consists of hazardous waste, commercial and industrial waste, as well as construction and demolition waste. The policy goes about: “Less Waste, More Resources.” It defines that we need to take our garbage and put it to use so that everything becomes a resource. Not everything will turn out to be useful, but we’ll surely have less in the landfills.

The government, social welfare organizations and other activists are working continuously to raise awareness for waste management in Australia. There are quite a few companies who recycle and take care of waste at will; all we have to do is reach them.

It’s not only the responsibility of government to deal with the issue of waste management and disposal, but it’s also up to businesses and individuals as well. As individuals, we should nurture concern that extends into a greater area and eventually, raise awareness in industrial levels. In this article, we’ve discussed a few industries and businesses that produce high quantities of waste in Australia. There are other industries responsible for generating waste, as well. As time goes on, hopefully, we will see more efficiency and less waste in these areas.


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