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Organic Waste

Organic waste recovery and recycling diverts valuable organic materials away from landfill, which has substantial environmental and economic benefits.

Various organic materials are collected from household, agricultural, and industrial sources and transported to processing facilities for treatment and conversion into useful products. For example, organic waste can be recycled to create nutrient-rich soil amendments such as composts for horticulture, landscaping, and mine-site rehabilitation. These products improve soil structure and water retention, provide nutrients to support plant growth, and help build soil carbon.

Australia is working to improve the management of organic waste, and has committed, through the National Waste Policy Action Plan 2019, to halve the amount of organic waste sent to landfill by 2030. Meeting this goal will significantly reduce the 13 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions (CO2 equivalent) generated every year by organic waste in Australian landfills and will recover valuable resources that are otherwise disposed of as waste. This commitment is driving the development of new infrastructure and organic waste processing capacity.

A wide variety of organic materials is available for recycling, ranging from crop residues and animal manures to garden waste, food waste, and expired food and beverage products. These materials can differ significantly in their microbial content and antimicrobial resistance burden. Appropriate waste processing and good risk management are therefore paramount. The organic waste sector is continually innovating to produce greater volumes of high-quality recycled products and safely support the ongoing growth of this valuable link in the circular economy.