Waste Management

Bale of crushed steel cans ready for recycling

Waste is a resource and how we choose to manage it makes all the difference. The ACT is aiming to support a circular economy, where waste materials re-enter the economy by being reused or recycled, rather than 'thrown away'.

The ACT has among the most ambitious waste reduction and resource recovery targets in Australia. The goal of the ACT Waste Management Strategy 2011-2025 is to drive innovation to achieve full resource recovery and a carbon neutral waste sector. The strategy also includes targets for reducing waste generation and minimising the impacts of waste on the natural environment.

How we manage our waste also affects our greenhouse gas emissions, and improving waste management is an important part of meeting our target of a carbon neutral Canberra by 2050.

The decay of organic material in our landfills and wastewater treatment plants released about 2% of the Territory's total greenhouse gas emissions in 2014-15. The primary greenhouse gas emitted from our landfills is methane, which is over 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Methane is released when organic materials break down in landfill, so reducing the amount of organic material going to landfill reduces our greenhouse gas emissions.

The best thing we can do to minimise the impacts of waste is to reduce the amount of waste we generate. The next best thing is to reuse goods and materials, instead of throwing them away. We also need to recycle materials into new products, recover energy from suitable sorted materials and when there are no other practical options, dispose of any unusable materials to landfill.

The ACT Government is currently conducting the ACT Waste Feasibility Study to look at options to reduce waste generation, maximise recycling and reuse, and minimise landfilling over the next 20-30 years. The study began in mid 2015 and will be completed by mid 2017.

More information on the ACT Waste Feasibility Study

More information on the Waste Strategy

View the A-Z Recycling Guide