By the Numbers: Latest Australian Recycling Statistics

The overuse of plastics contributed to the mountains of junk and scrap that we are currently struggling to resolve. And despite the huge efforts in resolving the recycling crisis, a lot of rubbish items is still being forwarded to our landfill. 

The Department of the Environment and Energy in cooperation with other state agencies from Queensland, Western Australian, Victorian and NSW; commissioned the Australian Plastics Recycling Survey to conduct a thorough survey. The purpose of the study is to obtain detailed information about the Australian’s consumption and recycling of plastics.

In 2016-17 Australian Plastics Recycling Survey – National Report, the survey provided a piece of comprehensive information on the flow, consumption, recycling and recovery of plastics in Australia. 

Key survey findings

  • 3,513,100 tonnes. The total of plastics consumed in Australia in 2016–17
  • 293,900 tonnes. The total of plastics recycled in 2016–17
    • 10% recovery or a total of 415,200 tonnes of plastics was recovered
  • 11.8 %. The national plastics recycling rate in 2016–17
  • Out of the 415,200 tonnes of plastics collected for recycling:
    • 180,100 tonnes  or 43.4% was reprocessed in Australia
    • 235,100 tonnes or 56.6% was exported for reprocessing
  • 5.66 billion single-use plastic bags were used by Australians in 2016-17

Recycling and Environmental Crisis

According to the National Waste Report for 2017-2018, the country created 64 million tons of waste per year. And of that statistic, the second major waste producer comes from household waste like food waste and plastic packaging. 

And in 2017-18, the Australian Plastics Recycling Survey showed the most recent statistics or key findings on recycling and recovery information of plastics in Australia. 

  • 3.4 million tonnes of plastics were consumed 
  • Only 320,000 tonnes of plastic waste was recovered for reprocessing. Out of 320,00 tonnes of plastic waste:
    • 145,700 tonnes or 46% was reprocessed in Australia
    • 174,300 tonnes or 54% was exported for reprocessing
  • 9.4% is the national rate for plastic waste recycling 

As the population continue to grow, so is the need to fulfil the people’s increasing demand for consumption. And while the needs and demands of the people are met, the recycling industry is in the middle of a difficult challenge as well.

Although a more substantial portion of the population in the country did a great job on their recycling efforts. The recycling crisis still exists due to the type of material of the products we consume. And this is the reason why most of the recycled household rubbish ends up in our landfill.

How Does Australia Respond to the Recycling Crisis? 

With this pressing recycling and environmental issue, the recycling crisis did not go quietly even amid the coronavirus crisis. The Minister for the Environment, Hon. Sussan Ley recently announced that the Australian Government would allocate $1 billion for waste and recycling plan to transform the waste industry in the country.

The government is also planning to change the law that covers the product stewardship. They want to make sure that the retailers and manufacturers will take responsibility for their products once it becomes a waste. 


We, the people, is one of the significant contributors to the recycling crisis our country is facing. Since everything is accessible, people can simply toss away things out of their place and have it replaced immediately. As consumers, if we don’t make a conscious effort in changing our old habits, the succeeding generations will suffer. 

Break that old habit and call on your trusted rubbish removal company in Sydney – Aussie Junk We provide the best, affordable and responsible rubbish removal services. 

We have a wide range of rubbish removal services you can choose from. Also, we can have it customised per your personal preference. Give us a call and let us know what kind of rubbish removal services you need. 

Call us today at ‪0435 569 921‬ and we will give you a free quote and no obligation rubbish removal consultation services. Don’t put your recycling efforts to waste, call us today! Aussie Junk is available 24/7.

Aussie Junk

Aussie Junk

Aussie Junk is a proud local Sydney rubbish removal company. We help educate Aussies on the importance of environmental topics such as recycling, hygiene, personal and social well-being and sustainability. Free up more valuable space in your life by calling our local team to help clear and clean out your junk today.

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