Australian Bureau of Statistics

Rate the ABS website
ABS Home > Statistics > By Release Date
4602.0 - Environmental Issues: People's Views and Practices, Mar 2003  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 26/11/2003   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product

MEDIA RELEASE

November 26, 2003
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)
129/2003
Potentially hazardous wastes often disposed of inappropriately

While Australians have almost universally embraced recycling, many people dispose of potentially hazardous wastes inappropriately according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics today.

A variety of hazardous wastes are generated by households and nearly 86% of households use their usual waste collection to dispose of these.

The ninth edition of Environmental Issues: People's Views and Practices (cat. no. 4602.0) presents the results of a survey conducted in March this year. Some of the main findings are presented below.

Waste management

  • In March 2003 approximately 95% of Australian households recycled waste and 83% re-used wastes. All states and territories recorded high levels of recycling and re-use. The rates of recycling and re-use are virtually unchanged since 2000 (although they have increased compared to 1996).
  • Very few households (2%) do not recycle or re-use wastes.
  • More than 80% of Australian households recycled or re-used glass, plastic bags, plastic bottles, old clothing, paper and cardboard. Paper and cardboard was the waste most likely to be recycled, with 88% of Australian households recycling paper and cardboard.
  • All types of households had high levels of recycling and re-use, but households consisting of couples with children and households with all members aged 15 years and over had the highest levels of recycling paper (91% and 92% respectively), while the lowest level occurred in one person households (83%).
  • Kerbside collections of recyclable waste were used by 87% of Australian households.
  • 83% of Australian households which disposed of hazardous wastes did not use safe waste disposal services. Of the households disposing of hazardous wastes but not using these facilities, 60% were not aware that such facilities existed.
  • Batteries are the most common form of hazardous waste disposed of by Australian households, with 94% of those disposing of them via their usual rubbish collection.

Motor vehicle ownership and maintenance
  • Australians remain dependant on cars for transport and, according to the Australian Greenhouse Office, cars produced just under 43 megatonnes or 7.4% of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions in 2001.
  • 89% of Australian households have one or more cars.
  • Approximately 23% of Australian households bought a vehicle in the 12 months to March 2003. The main factors considered when buying vehicles were purchase cost (50% of households buying vehicles), fuel economy or running costs (38%) and size (38%). Very few households (4%) considered environmental impacts when buying vehicles.
  • The use of unleaded petrol has increased from 73% in 2000 to 83% in 2003. Super or leaded fuel, used by 17% of households in 2000, is no longer available and lead replacement petrol was used by 8% of vehicles in 2003.

Use of transport
  • Motor vehicles continue to be the dominant form of transport for Australians, with 75% of people using them to travel to work or study
  • Use of public transport remains low, with 12% of people using it to travel to work or study. Public transport was used by a higher percentage of people in New South Wales (18%) and by people aged 18–24 years (24%).
  • The main reasons for using public transport were not owning a motor vehicle (31%), parking problems (29%) and convenience and comfort (29%). Environmental concerns were not a major factor (4%) in people's decisions to use public transport.
  • The main reasons for not using public transport were that there was no service available (30%), no service available at convenient times (23%), and the journey was too long (21%).
  • Approximately 5% of people walked or rode to work or study. The main reasons given for walking or riding to work or study were the proximity of home to work or study (69%), exercise or health (50%), and cost (19%). Environmental reasons (5%) were ranked sixth out of ten reasons in importance.

Further details are in Environmental Issues: People's Views and Practices (cat. no. 4602.0) available via this web site. State fact sheets are also available via this web site.

Environmental Issues: People's Views and Practices
New South Wales

Household Waste Management
  • Nearly all households in NSW (96%) recycled or re-used wastes in 2003 (p. 13). The level in NSW was slightly below the Australian average of 98%.
  • The items most commonly recycled or re-used in NSW were: paper and cardboard (90% of households), plastic bottles (88%), glass (86%), plastic bags (84%) and old clothing or rags (81%). These rates have all increased slightly since 2000 (p. 14).
  • Approximately 45% of NSW households composted or mulched some of their wastes, compared to 50% nationally (p.16).
  • Just under 20% of NSW households reported that no recycling services or facilities were provided (p. 35).
  • Approximately 79% of NSW households disposed of hazardous wastes (p. 37).
  • Just under 16% of NSW households used safe waste disposal services or facilities in their area. Of those NSW households not using safe waste disposal services or facilities, 58% reported that they were not aware that such facilities existed (p.40).

Use of Transport
  • NSW was the state with the highest number (510,000) and percentage (18%) of people using public transport when travelling to work or study (p. 61).
  • In NSW trains were the most common type of public transport being patronised by 11% of people travelling to work or study. Buses were the next most used form of public transport, with 6% of people using them to travel to work or study using them (p. 61).
  • The main reasons for travelling to work or study by public transport in NSW were not owning a motor vehicle (32%) and parking problems (30%) (p. 70).
  • The main reasons for not travelling to work or study by public transport in NSW were no service available (28%) and no service available at convenient times (23%). Less than 2% of people said concerns about personal safety were a factor (p. 74).
  • NSW had the highest number (171,000) and proportion (6%) of people who usually walked or cycled to work or study (p. 61).
  • The main reasons given for walking or riding to work in NSW were proximity of home to work or study (71%) and exercise or health (47%). Some 16% of people who walked or cycled to work in NSW said they had no other means of transport. The main reason for people not walking or cycling to work was distance (72% of people) (p. 78).
Environmental Issues: People's Views and Practices
Victoria

Household Waste Management
  • Almost all Victorian households (99%) engaged in recycling or re-using wastes. The level in Victoria was slightly above the Australian average of 98%. (p.13).
  • In Victoria the items most commonly recycled or re-used were plastic bottles (95% of households), paper and cardboard (94%), glass (93%) and plastic bags (87%) (p. 14).
  • Almost half (52%) of Victorian households composted or mulched their wastes (p.16).
  • Approximately 81% of Victorian households reported disposing of hazardous wastes (p. 37). Just over 18% of Victorian households used safe waste disposal services or facilities in their area. Of those households not using safe waste disposal services or facilities, around 62% reported that they were unaware that such facilities existed (p. 40).

Use of Transport
  • Victoria had the second highest number (274,000) and proportion (12%) of people using public transport in travel to work or study (p. 61). NSW had the highest use with 510,000 or 18% of people using public transport.
  • Trains were the most common type of public transport used to travel to work or study in Victoria and were patronised by 7% of people travelling to work or study. The next most used form of public transport in Victoria was trams (3%) (p. 61).
  • The most common reasons given by Victorians for travelling to work or study by public transport were convenience or less stress (37%) and not owning a motor vehicle (33%) (p. 70).
  • In Victoria the main reasons for not travelling to work or study by public transport were that the travel time was too long (29%) and no service was available (28%). Just over 2% of people reported concerns about personal safety as a factor (p. 74).
  • Approximately 5% of Victorians usually walked or cycled to work or study (p. 61), which is in line with the national level (also 5%). The main reasons given by Victorians for walking or cycling were proximity of home to work or study (71%) and exercise or health (54%) (p. 76).
  • In Victoria the main reasons for not walking or cycling to work were distance (71%) and lack of time (13%) (p. 78).

Environmental Issues: People's Views and Practices
Queensland

Household Waste Management
  • Nearly all (98%) households in Queensland engaged in recycling or re-using wastes, which was the same level reported nationally (p. 13).
  • The items most commonly recycled or re-used in Queensland were plastic bags (89% of households), old clothing or rags (86%), paper and cardboard (85%) and plastic bottles (84%) (p. 14).
  • Approximately 56% of Queensland households composted or mulched some of their wastes and this level above the national rate of 50% (p. 16).
  • About 87% of Queensland households disposed of hazardous wastes (p. 37). About 18% of households had used safe waste disposal services or facilities in their area. For those not using safe waste disposal services or facilities, around 62% reported that they were unaware that such facilities existed (p. 40).

Use of Transport
  • In Queensland approximately 78% of people travelled to work or study in a private vehicle and about 8% by public transport (p.61). This compares with national levels of 75% and 12%, respectively.
  • One-fifth (20%) of people in Queensland driving to work or study took passengers, one of the highest levels in Australia (p. 66).
  • In Queensland the main for reasons for taking passengers were dropping children off at school (45%) and working or studying with or near the passenger (37%) (p. 67).
  • In Queensland the reasons given for people travelling to work or study by public transport were cost (39%) and convenience or less stress (31%) (p. 70). This differs from the national figure, where the most important reasons were not owning a vehicle (31%) and parking problems (29%).
  • Primary reasons for not travelling to work or study by public transport were that there was no service available (37% of people not using public transport to work or study) and no service was available at most convenient or right time (23%) (p. 74).
  • Primary reasons for not walking or cycling to work were distance (71% of people) and needing a vehicle before, during and after work or study hours (12%) (p. 78).

Environmental Issues: People's Views and Practices
South Australia

Household Waste Management
  • Almost all South Australian (SA) households (99%) engaged in some form of recycling or re-using wastes. This level is slightly more than the national figure of 98% (p. 13).
  • The waste items most commonly recycled or re-used in SA were: plastic bags (89% of households), plastic bottles (88%), old clothing or rags (84%) and paper and cardboard (83%) (p. 14).
  • 81% of households used central collection points other than the dump or waste transfer station to recycle wastes, the highest level of any state or territory (p. 16). This is related to the return of bottles to collection depots in order to recoup the container deposit.
  • SA had the highest number of households recycling aluminium cans (193,900 households) (p. 21) and plastic bottles (171,300 households) (p. 23) via central collection points other than dump or waste transfer stations. Again, this is related to the return of bottles to collection depots in order to recoup the container deposit.
  • Approximately 48% of households in SA composted or mulched some of their wastes (p. 16).
  • About 85% of households in SA disposed of hazardous wastes (p.37). About 16% of households in SA used safe waste disposal services or facilities in their area. Of those not using safe waste disposal services or facilities, 58% reported they were unaware that such facilities existed (p.40).

Use of Transport
  • A little under 78% of people in SA travelled to work or study in a private vehicle and slightly less than 10% by public transport (mostly by bus). About 7% of people in SA did not travel because they either worked or studied at home (p. 61).
  • In SA, approximately 17% of people driving to work or study took passengers (p. 66). The main reasons for taking passengers were dropping children at school (46%) and working or studying with or near the passenger (37%) (p. 67).
  • In SA the main reasons for people travelling to work or study by public transport were the cost (45%) and parking problems (28%) (p. 70). SA had the highest percentage of people identifying cost as a reason for taking public transport.
  • The main reasons for not travelling to work or study by public transport were that no was service available (28%) and no service was available at convenient times (23%) (p. 74).
  • Just under 6% of people in SA usually walked or cycled to work or study (p. 61). The main reasons given for walking or riding to work was the proximity of home to work or study or for exercise or health (both 50%) (p. 76). Proximity to work or study was less of reason in SA than in other states, and was well below the national level (69%).
  • In SA the main reasons for not walking or cycling to work were distance (66%) and lack of time (14%) and needing a vehicle before, during and after work or study hours (14%) (p. 78).

Environmental Issues: People's Views and Practices
Western Australia

Household Waste Management
  • Approximately 97% of WA households engaged in recycling or re-using wastes (p.13).
  • In WA, the items most commonly recycled or re-used were plastic bags (85%), old clothing or rags and paper and cardboard (both 82% ) (p. 14).
  • About 43% of WA households composted or mulched their wastes (p.16).
  • Just under 20% of WA households reported that no service or facilities for recycling were provided. A similar level was report by NSW households and the highest level was in the NT (29%) (p.35).
  • About 81% of WA households disposed of hazardous wastes. (p.37). Approximately 15% of WA households used safe waste disposal services or facilities. Of those not using safe waste disposal services or facilities 63% reported they were unaware that such facilities existed (p.40).

Use of Transport
  • Approximately 80% of people in WA travelled to work or study by private vehicle compared to just over 75% of people nationally (p. 61).
  • About 7% of people in WA used by public transport to get to work or study compared to 12% of people nationally (p. 61) .
  • WA had the highest proportion of people (9%) not travelling as they worked or studied at home or within an educational institution (p.61).
  • About 18% of people driving to work or study took passengers (p. 66). The main reasons given for taking passengers were drivers working or studying with or near the passenger (46%) and dropping children off at school (34%)(p. 67).
  • The main reasons reported for using public transport were cost (44%) and parking problems (38%). WA had the highest proportion people citing environmental concerns as a reason for using public transport (7%) (p. 70).
  • Primary reasons for not travelling by public transport were that no service was available (34%) and no service was available at convenient times (23%) (p. 74).
  • 4% of people in WA usually walked or cycled to work or study (p. 61), with the main reasons given for this being the proximity of home to work or study (81%) or for exercise or health (40%) (p. 76). The reason of proximity to work or study well above the national level (69%).
  • The main reasons for not walking or cycling to work were distance is too far (68% of people) and needing a vehicle before, during and after work or study hours (14%) (p. 78).
Environmental Issues: People's Views and Practices
Tasmania

Household Waste Management
  • About 97% of Tasmanian households engaged in recycling or re-using wastes (p.13)
  • The waste items most commonly recycled or re-used in Tasmania were plastic bags (88%), plastic bottles (85%), glass (84%) and paper and cardboard (84%) (p. 14).
  • Most common methods of recycling used by households were through central collection points other than the dump or waste transfer stations (72%) and with the usual garbage collection from the house (67%).
  • About 59% of households in Tasmania composted or mulched some of their wastes, the second highest level among states and territories (p.16).
  • About 85% of households in Tasmania disposed of hazardous wastes. Approximately 19% of households in Tasmania used safe waste disposal services or facilities. Of those not using safe waste disposal services or facilities, about 60% reported they were unaware that such facilities existed (p.40).

Use of Transport
  • Approximately 83% of Tasmanians travelled to work or study on a private vehicle, the highest percentage among states and territories (p. 61).
  • Few Tasmanians (94%) used public transport, mainly buses. Only the NT had a lower level of public transport use (p. 61).
  • Approximately 17% of Tasmanians driving to work or study took passengers (p. 66), mostly dropping children at school (37%) and saving on travel costs (34%). Tasmanians were twice as likely to identify travel costs as a reason for taking passengers than people in New South Wales, Victoria or Queensland (p. 67).
  • The main reasons given by Tasmanians for not travelling to work or study by public transport were that no service was available (35%) and no service was available at convenient times (28%) (p. 74).
  • Few Tasmanians (5%) walked or rode bicycles to work or study, but this level was similar to that reported in most other states and territories.
  • In Tasmania the main reasons for not walking or cycling to work were distance (61%) and needing a vehicle before, during and after work or study hours (18%) (p. 78).

Environmental Issues: People's Views and Practices
Northern Territory

Household Waste Management
  • The NT had the lowest levels of recycling and re-use in Australia. The NT had the highest proportion of households (7%) not recycling or re-using wastes, while 87% of households engaged in recycling wastes and 76% in re-using wastes (p.13).
  • The main reasons reported for not recycling or re-using wastes were that households felt they did not use or create enough waste to warrant recycling or re-use (56% of households) and no services or facilities provided (46%). The reported level of lack of services or facilities (46%) was the highest of all states and territories (p.35).
  • The waste items most commonly recycled or re-used in the NT were plastic bags (78%), paper and cardboard (74%) and old clothing or rags (69%) (p. 14).
  • The most common methods of recycling used by households in the NT were through a usual collection from the house (69%) and at central collection points other than the dump or waste transfer station (53%) (p. 16).
  • About half (50%) of NT households composted or mulched some of their wastes (p.16).
  • Approximately 80% of NT households disposed of hazardous wastes (p. 37). The NT had the second highest rate (21%) of use of safe waste disposal services or facilities. About 70% of households not using safe waste disposal services reported that they were unaware such services or facilities existed (p.40).

Use of Transport
  • The NT had second highest proportion (82%) of people using private vehicles for transport to work or study (p. 13).
  • The NT had the highest proportion of people that walked or cycled to work or study (10%). This was approximately double the level reported in the rest of Australia (p. 13). The main reasons given for walking or cycling to work or study were exercise and health (79%) and cost (52%). In addition, 28% of people walking or cycling to work in the NT said they had no other means of transport.
  • The NT also had the highest proportion of people (27%) taking passengers when driving to work or study (p. 66). The main reasons for taking passengers were working or studying with or near the passenger (34%) and dropping children at school (33%) (p. 67).
  • The NT had the lowest proportion of people using of public transport (2%) in Australia. The main reasons for not travelling to work or study by public transport were that there was no service available at the most convenient or right time (28%) and no service was available (26%) (p. 74).
Environmental Issues: People's Views and Practices
Australian Capital Territory

Household Waste Management
  • Almost all ACT households (99%) engaged in recycling or re-using wastes. This is slightly above the national figure of 98% (p.13)
  • The ACT had the highest proportion of households recycling or re-using paper and cardboard (97%), plastic bottles (96%), glass (96%), plastic bags (92%), old clothing or rags (88%), garden waste (72%), kitchen or food waste (55%) and motor oil (18%) (p. 14).
  • The ACT also had the highest rate of composting or mulching (60%)(p. 16).
  • The ACT had the lowest proportion of households that did not recycle due to lack of service or facilities (11%) or inadequate services or facilities (2%) (p. 35).
  • Approximately 89% of ACT households disposed of hazardous wastes (p. 37).
  • The ACT had the highest proportion of households (24%) using safe waste disposal services or facilities (p. 40).
  • Of the ACT households not using safe waste disposal services or facilities, 57% were aware of safe waste disposal services or facilities, the highest proportion of households in any state or territory (p.40).

Use of Transport
  • The ACT had one of the highest rates of use of private vehicles in Australia to get to work or study (82%) (p. 61).
  • The ACT had the second highest proportion of people taking passengers to work or study, with a little over 25% of drivers taking passengers (p. 66).
  • In the ACT the main reasons for taking passengers were that drivers worked or studied with or near the passenger (35%) and drivers were dropping children at school (32%) (p. 67).
  • Of the people using vehicles to get work or study, 22% said that one of the reasons for this was the vehicle was needed before, during or after work, a level that was the highest in Australia and twice the level reported nationally (p. 74).
  • Approximately 8% of people in the ACT used public transport to get to work or study (p. 61). This rate was significantly below the national level of 12% and the rates for NSW (18%) and Victoria (12%).
  • In the ACT the main reasons for not travelling to work or study by public transport were that the travel time was too long (33%) and no service was available at convenient times (30%) (p. 74). Fewer than 4% of people in the ACT said that no service was available, the lowest level for any state or territory in Australia.
  • About 5% of people in the ACT walked or cycled to work, which is similar to all other states. The NT has the highest percentage (10%) of people riding or walking to work (p. 61)
  • In the ACT the main reason for not walking or cycling to work was distance (64%). In addition, the ACT had just over 6% of people with health or physical restrictions that prevented them from riding or walking, the highest level of all states and territories (p. 79).

Bookmark and Share. Opens in a new window

Commonwealth of Australia 2014

Unless otherwise noted, content on this website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia Licence together with any terms, conditions and exclusions as set out in the website Copyright notice. For permission to do anything beyond the scope of this licence and copyright terms contact us.