Household Waste Recycling

Last Updated: 
2011
Update Frequency: 
Annual (each financial year)

Indicator Rationale

Recycling measures materials diverted from landfill, and is indicative of the community’s commitment to sustainable practices.  Recycling saves landfill space and also minimises the resources used to make the product in the first place.  Buying recycled products is also important to “close the loop” and ensure the viability of recycling. 

Data Source

Sustainability Victoria Annual Reports 

The survey is a complete enumeration of Victoria's 79 local governments, and is completed on-line by each local government.  Being a complete enumeration, the survey results are not subject to sampling variability.  While Sustainability Victoria has identified and corrected a significant number of anomalies by verifying information provided in the data collection returns, the findings from the survey are subject to the accuracy of data provided by the individual local governments.

At a regional level, Sustainability Victoria publishes data for Regional Waste Management Group areas.  These areas are not the same as the eight Victorian Government regions, and therefore no regional data for this indicator are available on the CIV website.

The Local Government Area of Loddon did not provide a kerbside recycling service before 2007-08, and the LGA of Yarriambiack did not have a kerbside recycling service until 2006-07, therefore no data are available for these LGAs before these time periods.  All LGAs had a kerbside recycling service for the first time in 2007-08.

Measures

Recyclables and Green Organics Recycled: expressed as a percentage (by tonnes) of the total collection of recyclables, green organics and garbage.  This measure is also referred to as the 'diversion rate'.  Material that cannot be reprocessed (e.g. broken glass or plastics with code numbers not normally collected) is referred to as 'contamination' and is excluded from the volume of recyclables before calculating the diversion rate.

Non-Organic Recyclable Waste Generated by Households: expressed as an average yield (kilograms) per household.

For each local council, the measure is derived by Sustainability Victoria as the reported quantity collected (tonnes) divided by the reported number of households serviced.

Notes:

(i) The data relate to waste collected through kerbside services only.  Waste disposed of at drop-off facilities and waste collected by private contractors are outside the scope of the local government survey and are not included.

(ii) Reported number of households serviced may also include commercial and industrial properties.  Local governments are requested to exclude these properties, but only if the related costs and tonnes can also be excluded (which is often not the case).

(iii) Drop-off services (particularly for green organics) are often provided in lieu of a kerbside service in many rural areas as a more cost-effective way to divert material.  Consequently, many rural local governments have lower diversion rates because drop-off figures are not included in the calculation of diversion rates.

(iv) Recyclables include paper and cardboard; and glass, steel, aluminium and plastic containers.

Sustainability Victoria emphasises that other factors such as population density, length of time a system has been established, education programs and distances to sorting facilities and end markets can have significant impacts of yields and costs, so the performance of recycling systems should not be judged in isolation from the context of these other variables. 

Reference

Grant T, James KL, Lundie S, Sonneveld K (2001) Stage 2 Report for Life Cycle Assessment for Paper and Packaging Waste Management Scenarios in Victoria, Centre for Design at RMIT, Melbourne.