State of the Environment Report title
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2004 Report


Solid Waste

Indicator description

Results for this indicator are also available for  

What the results tell us for Queanbeyan

The amount of domestic waste to landfill in the Queanbeyan City Council Area increased slightly over the four years of the current reporting period. The increase probably reflected an increase in domestic collections of around 500 a year.

Queanbeyan residents have a good record for recycling. A waste diversion benchmarking exercise was conducted in 2004 to improve the ratio of recyclables to landfill and to analyse the viability of markets for processed organics and greenwaste. A new recycling recovery facility was built in 2003–04. Comparisons between recyclables recovered in that year and in previous years were not possible because of incomplete data in the earlier three years.

Comparison with previous reporting periods—even within the reporting period—was made more difficult because of changes to the local government area boundary effective from February 2004. It is anticipated that figures from 2004–05 will provide a sound baseline for future reporting on waste management in the new city council area.

The waste stream

Domestic waste to landfill is the only type of landfill waste recorded because of Queanbeyan's use of ACT landfill facilities. Therefore total waste cannot be estimated because of the absence of data on all types of waste other than domestic.

Queanbeyan City Council currently has no waste reduction strategy or target, but a 2004 waste diversion benchmarking exercise (DEC 2004) was aimed at improving the ratio of recyclables to landfill and to analyse the viability of markets for processed organics/greenwaste. The benchmark report indicated that Queanbeyan City Council:

"…provides a comprehensive waste and recycling collection service to its residents, including kerbside collections of recyclables, garden organics (greenwaste) and mixed waste, and drop-off facilities for recyclables and greenwaste…
Rates for waste to landfill are comparable with or lower than other areas, but the recovery of recyclable materials, with the exception of greenwaste, is also lower. This indicates that there is an opportunity to increase the quantity of recyclables recovered… Ideally more domestic waste would be recycled than delivered to landfill."

For 2003–04, the waste that was addressed by the city council (domestic waste and recycling) was the equivalent of approximately 327 kilograms for every Queanbeyan City Council Area resident (see Table 1). Recycling efforts by the council and the community reduced that figure to about 216 kilograms of waste that went to landfill. It is to be expected that these figures would be substantially lower than for other councils in the Australian Capital Region where all types of waste are addressed.

Table 1. Resource recovery in relation to total waste generation in Queanbeyan City Council Area, July 2000 to June 2004
Type of wasteTonnes of wasteChange
00–01 to 03–04
Recycled (tonnes)4449.554271.784145.784020.21–429.34 tonnes
Recycled (% of total*)38%36%35%34%–4%
To landfill (tonnes)7210.897622.537650.347846.24+635.35 tonnes
To landfill (% of total*)62%64%65%66%+4%
Total11,66011,89411,79611,866+ 1.77%

* Percentage of total waste stream (landfill plus resource recovery); Source: Queanbeyan City Council

Waste to landfill

The Queanbeyan City Council Area uses Mugga Lane landfill in the ACT; only figures for domestic waste collections are recorded there. In addition to kerbside collections, the city council also offers a biannual hard waste collection (cleanup) service (in September and March). Some of this waste is also disposed of in the Mugga Lane landfill, while other fractions are separated for metal and greenwaste recycling.

All commercial and industrial deliveries, all building and demolition deliveries and all private deliveries go to Mugga Lane, without any measurement that identifies them as coming from Queanbeyan.

Table 2 shows a marginal increase in domestic waste generation over the reporting period. Queanbeyan has been one of the fastest growing local government areas in NSW. The Department of Environment and Conservation noted "The number of domestic services is increasing at a rate of approximately 500 or 3.5% per year" (DEC 2004). The additional population arising from the enlarged city council area from February 2004 is likely to boost even further the volumes of domestic waste generated.

No records are kept of illegal dumping in the city council area.

Table 2. Estimated waste to landfill in Queanbeyan City Council Area, 2000–01 to 2003–04
Type of wasteTonnes of wasteChange
00–01 to 03–04 (%)
Domestic collection7210.897622.537650.347846.24+ 8.81%

Source: Queanbeyan City Council


Council provides kerbside recycling collection as well as drop-off facilities at the Waste Minimisation Centre for greenwaste, dry recyclables and used oils. Comparisons of recycling in 2003–04 with recyclables recovered from previous years (see Table 3) are not possible because of incomplete data in those years. Nevertheless, Table 3 suggests that volumes of paper for recycling increased during the reporting period. All other types of recycled material reduced in volume.

Whole of year figures for 2003–04 (Table 3) mask an increased percentage of material recovered from the recyclables stream after the new recycling recovery facility came on line in December 2004.

A collection facility for recycled oil was installed in November 2003. The 2200 litres collected in the last half of that year represent a start of records for this type of recycled material. The next reporting period will be more testing.

Council notes that the Queanbeyan community is very good at recycling and there is a high participation rate in kerbside recycling for both greenwaste and containers/paper. Despite considerable initial resistance to the greenwaste recycling bin, residents are now very happy with this service and a consistently high quality product is produced.

Council also conducted a household hazardous waste collection day in November 2003 (see also Hazardous waste).

Table 3. Resource recovery by type (stream) in Queanbeyan City Council Area, 2000–01 to 2003–04
Material recycledTonnes of wasteChange
00–01 to 03–04 (%)
Paper and cardboard1253.171379.131463.621420.59+13.36%
Glass731.99462.33267.25387.76– 52.97%
Liquid paper board8.826.7110.400.9– 90.41%
Aluminium 8.768.017.188.14– 7.08%
Steel cans66.0258.8355.7654.72– 17.12%
Garden waste and compost†2200220022002000– 9.09%
Metals (ferrous)66.0258.7855.7654.72– 17.12%
Motor oil UnknownUnknownUnknown2200 litresNA

† Amounts for garden waste and compost are estimates only; * Total excludes motor oil; Data source: Queanbeyan City Council

Other resource implications of waste

As is occurring with the development of regional waste management arrangements elsewhere in the Australian Capital, waste from Queanbeyan City Council Area is transported off-site. Council has historically been a customer of the ACT landfill at Mugga Lane. However, while no land-use is set aside for landfill within the Queanbeyan City Council area, council does provide drop-off facilities at the Waste Minimisation Centre.

The city council's annual investment in waste management during the reporting period, including the discrete cost of resource recovery, is shown in Table 4. At 30 June 2004 the investment (including resource recovery) represented a cost of around $66 for every person in the city council area.

Table 4. Investment in waste management and resource recovery in Queanbeyan City Council Area, July 2000 to June 2004
TypeAnnual value of investment ($)
Total waste management 1,847,9442,151,5002,173,2572,399,707
Resource recovery 834,916 1,062,789 1,109,885 1,096,485

About the data

Data provided from Queanbeyan City Council records.

Landfill and kerbside recyclables data come from weighbridge records. Greenwaste is a quantity estimate based on volumes.

Per person calculations are on the basis of the population of 36,331 people for the new Queanbeyan City Council Area as at 30 June 2004.

For additional information on domestic waste management and recycling services, the Department of Local Government Comparative Information publications report annually on four key performance indicators:

These indicators are seen to relate to the economic efficiency and environmental management performance of residential garbage collection services generally provided by councils in urban or town areas.


DEC—see Department of Environment and Conservation

Department of Environment and Conservation (2004) Waste Diversion Benchmarking, Final Report, April 2004, Sustainability Programmes Division, Phil Hawley and Associates.

NSW Department of Local Government (2005) Comparative Information, for years 2000–01, 2001–02 and 2002–03, viewed February 2005,