Hyder Consulting for the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, 2011
This study was commissioned to support work on the National Waste Policy: Less Waste, More Resources. Under strategies 4 and 16 of the National Waste Policy, the Australian Government, in collaboration with the states and territories, is committed to introducing a national definition and classification system for wastes, and to developing a system that provides access to integrated national core data on waste and resource recovery.
The main objective of the Waste Classifications in Australia study is to expand on work done by the department in the National Waste Report 2010 and the Australian Waste Classification ERoles in Decision Making to document the waste classification systems used in each jurisdiction. This study describes jurisdiction's classification systems in more detail and compares them with the National Waste Classification System developed in the early 1990s as part of the Australian Waste Database project. This database was an early attempt to develop a national classification system and database for waste. A detailed description of the Australian Waste Database project is provided in Chapter 2 of the report.
The study found that, with the exception of Tasmania and the Northern Territory, jurisdictions are currently using more than one classification system and these differ depending on the specific function for which they are used. Generally, jurisdictions have one classification system for waste management, another for recycling activities, and another for reporting purposes. These different classification systems align to varying degrees among jurisdictions and with the Australian Waste Database.
The report also provides a brief overview of the reasons why jurisdictions use different waste classification systems and why the Australian Waste Database was not widely adopted. It also describes how waste-related data are collected within each jurisdiction.