Construction and demolition waste status report - management of construction and demolition waste in Australia

Hyder Consulting, 2011

Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities and Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management

About this report

This report was jointly commissioned by the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities and the Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management on behalf of the Commercial and Industrial, Construction and Demolition and Governments Working Group to support work on Strategy 11 of the National Waste Policy: Less Waste, More Resources. Under Strategy 11 of the National Waste Policy, all governments are committed to encouraging best practice waste management and resource recovery for construction and demolition projects.

A total of 19.0 million tonnes of construction and demolition (C&D) waste was generated in Australia in 2008-09. Of this total waste stream, 8.5 million tonnes was disposed to landfill while 10.5 million tonnes, or 55%, was recovered and recycled. This report shows performance in terms of resource recovery from the C&D stream is highly variable across the different Australian jurisdictions. In the best performing jurisdictions, recovery rates of greater than 75% are being achieved. The key factors driving resource recovery in each jurisdiction ·and the key barriers to improving performance - are highlighted throughout this report.

The following general conclusions about resource recovery performance can be drawn from the information contained in this report:

  • Resource recovery rates are highest in those regions where there is strong market demand for recycled C&D materials, with well-defined and well-publicised specifications supporting the use of recycled products
  • Where the cost of landfill disposal is sufficiently high, the cost to dispose of mixed waste will be high compared to the cost to reprocess uncontaminated streams of specific C&D waste materials. This provides strong incentive for high volume and regular generators of C&D waste to source separate materials and allow for easier reprocessing
  • High landfill disposal costs provide an incentive to process mixed C&D waste in order to recover certain high value and high volume components, and avoid landfill disposal costs.

Many of the barriers and opportunities identified within this report are jurisdiction-specific, and especially relate to potential mechanisms and roles for State and Territory Governments to encourage better performance. This report provides a distinct overview of the performance within each State or Territory, including an explanation of materials in the C&D waste stream, discussion of the current processing capacity for recovering materials, an outline of the key products and end use markets for recovered C&D materials, and details of the barriers and opportunities in relation to improving performance. There are many aspects of C&D waste and recycling that present common issues across all Australian jurisdictions. These common issues, themes and information have been drawn together and compiled into a National Overview.

See also