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New data on batteries in hazardous waste

Posted on: May 22nd, 2013

Two new reports released by the Australian Government provide the first comprehensive assessment of hazardous waste generation across the country. They include quantities of hazardous waste that are officially tracked by state and federal governments, as well as estimates of hazardous components in municipal, commercial and industrial, and construction and demolition waste.

The Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities last week released the Hazardous Waste Data Assessment, which was prepared by KMH Environmental. It comprises two reports:

The Hazardous Waste Data Assessment compiles data and information on hazardous waste generation in Australia, including the hazardous waste that crosses state, territory or national borders and hazardous waste that remains within a single jurisdiction.

The Hazardous Waste Data Summary provides further interpretation and analysis of the data presented in the Hazardous Waste Data Assessment, and draws out headline messages about hazardous waste generation in Australia.

In the first report the consultants estimated that the total quantity of hazardous waste generated in 2010-11 was 4,398,883 tonnes, comprising:
• 4,004,126 tonnes tracked through intrastate tracking systems
• 92,921 tonnes tracked through interstate tracking systems
• 301,836 tonnes generated in the municipal waste stream.

This data is broken down by the 15 major NEPM waste codes. A more detailed breakdown is available for the municipal waste stream, which is estimated to include:
• lead acid batteries – 34,510.50 tonnes (11.4% of hazardous municipal waste)
• nickel cadmium batteries – 159.1 tonnes (0.05%)
• nickel metal hydride batteries – 41.8 tonnes (0.01%).

Hazardous waste in total is estimated to make up 7% of all tracked and municipal waste.

The second report expands the estimates of hazardous waste to include all sources, including non-tracked commercial and industrial, and construction and demolition waste. This increases the total to 6,463,743 tonnes in 2010-11.

Both reports can be accessed on the department’s website.