Healthy Environment, Healthy Community, Healthy Business

Environment Protection Authority

Environmental Issues

Waste and recycling

Data: local council waste and resource recovery

Robust waste and recycling data enables local councils and industry to make informed, evidence-based decisions on how to improve services for their local communities.

Waste and recyclables collected from NSW households

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) coordinates annual council surveys on the waste and recyclables collected from households, which is the major component of the municipal solid waste (MSW) stream. The surveys also incorporate information required under the National Environment Protection Measure (NEPM) for Used Packaging Materials.

The resulting reports outline the domestic waste generation and recycling performance of local council kerbside, drop-off and clean-up services across NSW. The EPA uses data provided by councils to calculate overall waste generation and resource recovery rates for each local government area (LGA).

When comparing the figures for LGAs, it is important to consider regional variations in consumption patterns, available services, data availability, and the interpretation of survey questions.

Recent annual survey data reports

Every year the NSW EPA prepares the NSW Local Government Waste and Resource Recovery Data Report which draws together data and information from councils about domestic waste and recycling from their kerbside, drop off and clean-up services. 

The 2012-13 report findings:

  • The average NSW household generated 23.6 kg of waste a week, consisting of 5.1 kg of recyclables, 5.3 kg of food and garden organics and 11.7 kg of landfill waste.
  • The average person in NSW generated 9.2 kg of waste a week, down from 9.4 kg the previous year
  • NSW households generated a total of 3.47 million tonnes of waste, sending 2.02 million tonnes to landfill and recycling the remaining 1.45 million tonnes.
  • The overall recycling rate for household waste dropped slightly to 46.5 per cent, compared to 47 per cent in 2011/12

Download 2012-13 Local Government Waste and Resource Recovery data report (PDF 629KB)

Appendix 3: Total domestic generation and recycling rates 2012-13 (XLSX 75KB)

Appendix 7: Total domestic residual waste generation and disposal 2012-13 (XLSX 69KB)

Previous annual survey data reports

Household residual waste and recycling audit

2011 NSW domestic kerbside waste and recycling report

In 2011, 66 councils in the regulated area undertook weight-based audits of their domestic kerbside waste and recycling bins as a requirement of funding under the former Waste and Sustainability Improvement Payment (WaSIP) Program

The audit revealed that the average residual waste bin in these areas of NSW contains 45% food and garden organics, 19.6% paper, 10.5% plastic and 3.7% glass.

2007-08 NSW domestic kerbside waste and recycling report

During 2007–08, councils in the Sydney Metropolitan Area, Illawarra and Hunter regions carried out a household residual waste audit, also as a WASIP requirement. The audits included household residual waste bins and some councils also included recycling and garden organics bins.

The audit revealed that the average residual waste bin in these areas of NSW contains 40% food waste, 11% garden organics and 23% dry recyclables.

Read the audit reports

More information

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Page last updated: 13 March 2015