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.
Are you interested in shaping the future of waste management in the ACT? If so, consider joining the Community Reference Group of the ACT Waste Feasibility Study. This group is open to all community members and meets once every two months to provide input on waste issues.
What can I recycle?
It can be overwhelming trying to figure out what can and can't be recycled, or where to take your specialist or hazardous wastes. From polystyrene to electrical appliances, the A-Z Recycling Guide offers practical information on where to take items for recycling or safe disposal.
Visit the TAMS Waste and Recycling pages to view the Guide.
The ACT Waste Management Strategy 2011-2025 guides the ACT in reducing waste and recovering resources to achieve a sustainable, carbon-neutral Canberra. The Strategy sets ambitious targets which aim to drive continual improvement in waste management.
The goal of the Strategy is to lead innovation to achieve full resource recovery and a carbon neutral waste sector.
The key objectives of the Waste Management Strategy are:
- Less waste generated
- Full resource recovery
- A clean environment and
- A carbon neutral waste sector
Visit the ACT Government action on waste page for more information.
ACT Waste Feasibility Study
In July 2015 the Government initiated the ACT Waste Feasibility Study with the aim of developing and assessing options for meeting the Government's waste policy objectives, including full resource recovery and a carbon neutral waste sector. The Study is looking at all aspects of waste management including waste data, legislation, education, infrastructure and strategy, and will deliver a detailed business case by mid 2017.
If you are interested in learning more about the Study, visit the website here.