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Statistics from ABC's War On Waste

Interesting Statistics from the Recent Series War On Waste.
It's Clear - Australia Has a Serious Waste Problem!

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How Bad Is Australia's Waste Problem?
Statistics From ABC's War On Waste

In case you weren’t aware, Australia has a huge waste problem. In the ABC’s recent series War On Waste, Craig Reucassel revealed some of the alarming statistics regarding the rubbish situation in Australia. It’s definitely a series worth checking out, if you missed it you can catch up on iView. We found some of the statistics particularly interesting and had trouble finding a copy of them – so we made our own notes. Below are some of the most interesting statics from Episode 1.

  • Australia is one of the most wasteful countries in the developed world
  • Every year the waste we generate is growing at twice the rate of our population
  • Australia uses over 10 million plastic bags a day – plastic bags are causing huge problems in our oceans
  • Australia pioneered recycling programs in the 60s starting initiatives such as Clean Up Australia Day
  • The average Australian family throws out over $3.5k worth of food every year – that’s about a ton!
  • Australia produces enough food each year to feed around 60 million people (over twice our population), yet many Australians struggle to put food on the table.
  • 3.3 million tons of food waste produced every year, 2.6 million of that from households. This is enough to fill the MCG 6 times!
  • Approximately 1/5th of bought food is thrown away – one in every five shopping bags!
  • On average 1/3 of household rubbish is food waste
  • When food rots in landfill it lets off methane, which is 25 times more potent than the C02 produced by cars
  • If 1% of the population composted food scraps instead of throwing them in the bin, it would save 45 million kgs of CO2
  • Australians eat 5 million bananas a day, making it the number 1 selling supermarket product. A large percentage of bananas don’t reach the shelves.
  • Australian supermarkets and other retailers send approximately 170k tons of food to landfill each year
  • If global food waste was a country, it would be the third largest green house gas emitter behind China and the US

Episode Highlights

Shocked by the amount of bananas that had to be disposed of, Craig researched Woolworths’ banana cosmetic standards, and found some documents. He quoted ‘Slightly arched with blunted butt end’ as the requirements for bananas. You can see Woolworths’ full banana specifications for yourself here. It’s definitely something to consider when you’re buying food – if you see a straight or oversized banana, buy it, and support the use of imperfect fruit and vegetables.

Craig also tried out dumpster diving with the dumpster diving granny, it was amazing to see how much good food supermarkets dispose of. The two of them brought back enough food to feed several people. There is considerable hygiene risk, so we don’t recommend trying this yourself, but it was certainly an interesting thing to see.


Coffee Cup & Clothing Waste Statistics

In Episode 3 many more alarming statistics were shared. One of the main factors was fast fashion - something people don't often think of as a waste problem. When throwing away clothes, we need to think about all the resources that went into making it - water, energy, cotton, transport, etc.

  • Australia is one of the most wasteful countries in the developed world
  • 6,000 KG of clothes are thrown out every 10 minutes in Australia — goes straight to landfill
  • 36,000KG of clothes are thrown out every hour
  • This could fill the MCG with clothes over two and a half times every year
  • 2700 litres of water to produce one item of clothing – enough drinking water for 3 years
  • The Smith Family warehouse process discarded clothing – 13 million KG of clothing every year
  • Some of these clothes are recycled, used as rags, etc. – 30% goes to waste
  • Three-quarters of clothing purchased is thrown out within a year

Craig also shared some shocking statistics regarding the disposable coffee cup. He used a tram full of coffee cups to demonstrate how many coffee cups are thrown out every half hour. This was an important reminder as to why we should bring our own reusable coffee when we go to coffee shops.

  • 1 billion coffee cups are used in Australia every year - these are not recycled
  •  This is enough to circumnavigate the world two and a half-times
  • Most people don't realise that coffee cups can't be recycled
  • 50,000 cups are used every half hour.
  • Most coffe shops don't offer discounts for bringing a reusable cup (find a shop that does!)

If we all played our own small part by buying quality clothes and wearing them longer as well as only using our own reusable coffee cup, huge results could be seen.

Declare Your Own War On Waste

For more interesting statistics about rubbish in Australia, see some of the other statistics we’ve shared on our website. There are lots of things that you can do to help combat the serious rubbish problem we have in Australia, for some of these ideas check out the War On Waste website. If you have a rubbish problem of your own, we offer the service you need. Declare your own War On Waste and call us today on 0402 737 046.


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