Recycling and waste in Queensland report
Information about waste recovery, recycling and disposal in Queensland is collected through an annual waste data survey (survey) and monthly waste levy returns from landfill operators.
This data helps inform policy development and decision makers in the waste and resource recovery industry, local government and Queensland Government about the state’s recycling and waste management activities.
The major flooding events that affected Queensland and New South Wales in early 2022 had a significant impact on the recovery rates and interstate waste this financial year.
On this page
- Key findings
- Headline wastes
- Local governments
- Private sector disposal
- Materials recovered
- Movement of wastes
- Waste levy
- Previous reports
- Open data sources
Key findings for 2021–22
A total of 9.26 million tonnes of headline wastes were generated, a 0.4% decrease from the previous year.
- The overall recovery rate for headline wastes decreased by 4.7% from the previous year to 51.5%.
- A total of 4.49 million tonnes of headline wastes were landfilled, a 414,000 tonne increase from the previous year.
- 79% of materials recovered were recycled in Queensland.
- Local governments sent 316,900 tonnes of paper and packaging for recovery.
- 1.42 million tonnes of domestic waste were picked up by weekly council collections.
- Organic processors converted 1.62 million tonnes of organic material into products such as soil conditioners, manufactured soil, potting mixes and mulches.
- The waste levy raised $348.3 million.
- Over 274,000 tonnes of disaster waste were landfilled.
- Queensland received 33% more waste from interstate sources (460,000 tonnes received).
- 170,000 tonnes (37%) of this interstate waste was disaster waste from New South Wales.
- A total of 9.26 million tonnes of headline wastes (municipal, commercial and industrial, construction and demolition) were generated – a decrease of 41,000 tonnes (0.4%) from 2020–21.
- The 0.4% decrease in headline wastes compares to Queensland’s population growth of 0.8%  and economic growth (state final demand of 4.0% ) during the same period.
The overall waste diversion from landfill (recovery rate) decreased by 4.7% from 56.2% in 2020–21 to 51.5% in 2021–22.
- Waste diversion for the headline waste streams were:
- 27.3% for municipal solid waste (the current target is 55% by 2025)
- 49.4% for commercial and industrial waste (the current target is 65% by 2025)
- 78.1% for construction and demolition waste (current target is 75% by 2025).
|Waste type||Current percentage||Target percentage|
|Municipal solid waste||27.3||55|
|Commercial and industrial waste||49.4||65|
|Construction and demolition waste||78.1||75|
ABS Regional population, 2021, Table 1. Estimated resident population, Local Government Areas (ASGS2021), Australia
ABS State Details, June quarter 2022 (PDF)
Local governments sent 316,900 tonnes of paper and packaging for recovery.
- Weekly red bin lid kerbside services collected 1.42 million tonnes of domestic waste from 2,012,400 households – a 4.4% increase per capita from 2020–21 and an 8.0% decrease per capita since 2009–10.
- Thirty-three councils provided a regular yellow bin lid kerbside collection service for paper and packaging materials to 1,852,134 households – a 0.9% increase from 2020–21.
- Councils sent 316,900 tonnes of paper and packaging for recovery. This is 8,100 tonnes greater than the amount sent in 2020–21, and is 1.8% more per capita compared to 2020–21.
- Twelve councils provided 340,100 Queensland households with a regular green waste (green bin lid) kerbside collection service – an increase of 46,000 households from 2020–21.
- Green bin lid services collected 111,000 tonnes of garden and food organic wastes, 28,400 tonnes greater than the amount collected in 2020–21. This is a 33.3% increase per capita from 2020–21 and a 228% increase per capita since 2012–13.
- Local councils diverted 1,347,000 tonnes of headline wastes from disposal – 487,000 tonnes were recycled by local governments, with the remainder sent to the private sector for recovery.
- 16,200 tonnes of waste were diverted from landfill through the operation of ‘tip shops’.
- 15,100 tonnes of litter and illegally dumped waste were cleaned up at a cost of $29 million.
- $153.5 million was paid under annual payments to local councils.
Private sector disposal
- Private sector waste facilities (landfills, monofils and incinerators) handled 50% of the headline wastes sent for disposal compared to 47% in 2020–21. Of this waste, private sector landfills reported disposing of:
- 26% of municipal solid waste
- 65% of commercial and industrial waste
- 87% of construction and demolition waste.
A total of 4,770,000 tonnes of headline wastes were recovered – an 8.7% decrease from 2020–21.
- Approximately 4,186,000 tonnes of headline wastes were recycled by reporting entities.
- Close to 785,000 tonnes of segregated green waste was recovered, of which 55% was from domestic sources and the remainder from commercial sources.
- Organic processors converted 1,622,000 tonnes of inputs (such as green waste, timber, sawmill residues, biosolids, manure, grease trap waste, abattoir waste, drilling mud and ash) into products such as soil conditioners, manufactured soil, potting mixes and mulches.
- Approximately 1,104,000 tonnes of ash was recovered (21.1% of the 5,227,000 tonnes of ash reported).
- 42,800 tonnes of waste (including timber, green waste, tyres, mineral oil and chemicals) were sent to energy recovery.
Movement of wastes
Queensland saw a 33% increase in incoming interstate waste from 2020–21.
- Of the materials recovered in 2020–21:
- 79.5% were processed in Queensland
- 8.1% of diverted materials were sent interstate for further processing
- 12.5% of diverted materials were sent overseas for further processing.
- Typically, the recovered glass, organics, ash and building materials were fully processed in Queensland, while the majority of the cardboard, ferrous and non-ferrous metals diverted from disposal were exported from Queensland for further processing.
- Close to 460,000 tonnes of waste were received from interstate sources by reporting entities in Queensland – a 33% increase from the 345,000 tonnes reported in 2020–21. The increase was driven by the transfer of 170,000 tonnes of flood disaster waste from New South Wales.
The waste levy raised $348.3 million.
As at 30 June 2022, there were 54 active landfill operators with a total of 102 sites within the levy zone. Of these, 51 operators across 99 sites received waste on which the waste levy was paid to the state.
The total revenue received from the waste disposal levy in 2021–22 was $348.3 million.
For 2020–21, the total amount of annual payments made to local councils was $153.5 million.
|Waste type||Amount (tonnes)|
|Municipal solid waste||1,912,279|
|Commercial and industrial waste||1,202,192|
|Construction and demolition waste||562,265|
|Earth contaminated with a hazardous contaminant from land recorded on the Environmental Management Register (EMR) or Contaminated Land Register (CLR)||15,145|
|Recycling activity residue waste with an approved waste levy discount||183,945|
Category 1 regulated waste, other than:
Category 2 regulated waste, other than:
|Municipal solid waste||1912279|
|Commercial and industrial waste||1202192|
|Construction and demolition waste||562265|
|Earth contaminated with a hazardous contaminant from land recorded on the EMR or CLR||15145|
|Recycling activity residue waste with an approved waste levy discount||183945|
|Category 1 regulated waste||86042|
|Category 2 regulated waste||105715|
|With a general levy exemption||1306960|
|With an approved levy exemption||1098578|
- 40 councils indicated that they had implemented waste reduction and recycling plans.
- 11 state entities reported against their waste reduction and recycling plan.
- There is one state based accredited product stewardship scheme in Queensland (Paintback – for unwanted paint and packaging)
- There were no waste reduction and recycling plans identified at planning entity and sector/s of reporting entities’ level.
Annual waste data survey
The Recycling and waste in Queensland report is largely informed by the Annual Waste Data Survey.
The survey captures data about waste generation, resource recovery, treatment and disposal in Queensland. This year’s data was derived from surveys submitted by 352 reporting entities, including local governments, state government departments, private landfill operators, recyclers, organic processors, waste transporters, and operators of transfer stations, incinerators, and industrial and mining monofils.
It also provides a range of government and industry stakeholders across the entire state with access to high quality, accurate waste data, while protecting survey respondent privacy and commercial confidentiality. Such data is critical to stakeholder planning and decision making and ensures better productivity, with more likelihood of opportunities being identified and leveraged, and challenges managed.
See the glossary of terms used in recycling and waste report for further clarification.
- Recycling and Waste in Queensland 2021
- Recycling and waste in Queensland 2020
- Recycling and waste in Queensland 2019
- Recycling and waste in Queensland 2018
- Recycling and waste in Queensland 2017
- Recycling and waste in Queensland 2016
Open data sources
- Headline waste disposal in Queensland by Region (2020–21) to (2021–22)
- Headline waste disposal in Queensland by Sector (2020–21) to (2021–22)
- Headline waste generation in Queensland (2011–12) to (2021–22)
- Litter and illegally disposed waste reported by Local Governments (2020–21) to (2021–22)
- Local Government bin services in Queensland (2011–12) to (2021–22)
- Material sent overseas for recovery from Queensland (2015–16) to (2021–22)
- Waste disposed at levyable waste disposal sites (2019–20) to (2021–22)
- Waste received from interstate sources (2013–14) to (2021–22)