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. 

2014–15 Local Government Waste and Resource Recovery Data Report: As reported by councils

The 2014–15 report findings show that

  • NSW households generated a total of 3.69 million tonnes of domestic waste, sending 1.92 million tonnes of residual waste to landfill, with the remaining 1.77 million tonnes being recycled
  • the average NSW household generated 24.2 kg of waste a week: kerbside collected 4.9 kg of recyclables, 5.6 kg of food and garden organics and 11.7 kg of residual waste; drop off facilities and clean up services collected the remaining 2 kg per household per week
  • the average person in NSW generated 9.4 kg of waste a week
  • the overall recycling rate for household waste increased to 48% compared to 46.8% in 2013–14, and has increased by 10.2% from 37.8% in 2005–06

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2013–14 Local Government Waste and Resource Recovery Data Report: As reported by councils

The 2013–14 report findings show that

  • the average NSW household generated 23.5 kg of waste a week, consisting of 5 kg of recyclables, 5.2 kg of food and garden organics and 11.9 kg of residual waste
  • the average person in NSW generated 9.1 kg of waste a week, down from 9.4 kg in 2011–12
  • NSW households generated a total of 3.52 million tonnes of waste, sending 1.87 million tonnes to landfill and recycling the remaining 1.65 million tonnes
  • the overall recycling rate for household waste rose slightly to 46.8 per cent, compared to 46.5 per cent in 2012–13

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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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