Australian landfill capacities into the future
Final report - amended and revised, Hyder Consulting, 2009
About the report
This report has been prepared by Hyder Consulting to assess landfill capacity issues in 16 major centres across Australia.
Modelling future demand for current approved landfill capacity, it found that future landfill capacity was most strongly constrained by social, environmental and political factors, with many population centres not having physical constraints on landfill capacity.
The report provides projections of landfill capacity at the following 16 major population centres in Australia: Adelaide, Canberra, Brisbane, Cairns, Darwin, Geelong, Gold Coast, Hobart, Launceston, Melbourne, Newcastle, Perth, Sydney, Toowoomba, Townsville and Wollongong. The projections were obtained by modelling available data on landfill capacity, projected waste generation and recovery rates under different growth scenarios and subtracting, year by year, the projected quantity of material sent to landfill.
The report finds that most population centres have sufficient approved physical landfill capacity to last many years (more than 15 years capacity in most centres). This conclusion allows for the transport of waste from the major centres to outlying landfill sites. Those population centres with less capacity appear to have lined up additional landfill space. It notes that this does not mean landfill space is unconstrained. As landfills close they are generally replaced by sites further away, increasing the cost (and potential environmental impacts) of transport. Also, the availability of holes for landfilling may be limited by regulatory constraints and possible community objections to new landfills.
The analysis shows the potential for waste reduction and recycling to extend the lifespan of existing landfills by many years.
The report forms part of a suite of research reports used to inform the National Waste Policy - Less waste, more resources.