South Australia's $1 billion waste industry scores 80% diversion from landfill rate

Graphic showing the components contributing to South Australia's rising rate of diverting waste from landfill since 2003-4.
Image courtesy Green Industries SA

Waste management has become a major 21st Century factor in the South Australian economy, contributing $500 million a year to the Gross State Product (GSP), with an annual turnover of around $1 billion and employing around 4,800 people – on a par with the fishing/aquaculture and water industries.

South Australia continues to lead Australia – and be among world leaders – in managing waste and recovering resources from it. The state’s rate of diverting waste from landfill has hit 80%. The government’s waste strategy 2015-2020 set targets to divert 90% of metropolitan construction and demolition waste, 80% of metropolitan commercial and industrial waste and 70% of metropolitan house hold kerbside waste by 2020 from landfill.

The Environment Protection (Waste Reform) Amendment Act 2017 gave the Environment Protection Authority greater powers to tackle illegal dumping and excessive waste stockpiling as well as supporting innovative resource recovery. But South Australia’s success in recovering resources also has benefitted from the involvement and foresight of the commercial waste companies.

The Waste Management Association of Australia’s South Australian branch represents its members’ views and provides a link between the industry and state government and its Green Industries SA. It has working groups including Landfill SA, Carbon Committee and Waste Educators SA Working Group.

The Waste Recycling Industry Association of South Australia was formed in 2017 with support from founding members Solo Resource Recovery, Peats Soil, Veolia, Mastec, Suez, Scout Recycling, ResourceCo and Bettatrans. 

The economic benefits of resource recovery were illustrated in 2009 by an Access Economics estimate that, for every 10,000 tonnes of waste recycled, 9.2 direct full time equivalent jobs are created, as opposed to 2.8 jobs if sent to landfill.

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