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Australian Regional Waste Footprints*

Unmaking Waste in Production and Consumption: Towards the Circular Economy

ISBN: 978-1-78714-620-4, eISBN: 978-1-78714-619-8

Publication date: 13 September 2018


The production of waste creates both direct and indirect environmental impacts. A range of strategies are available to reduce the generation of waste by industry and households, and to select waste treatment approaches that minimise environmental harm. However, evaluating these strategies requires reliable and detailed data on waste production and treatment. Unfortunately, published Australian waste data are typically highly aggregated, published by a variety of entities in different formats and do not form a complete time-series. We demonstrate a technique for constructing a multi-regional waste supply-use (MRWSU) framework for Australia using information from numerous waste data sources. This is the first subnational waste input–output framework to be constructed for Australia. We construct the framework using the Industrial Ecology Virtual Laboratory (IELab), a cloud-hosted computational platform for building Australian multiregional input–output tables. The structure of the framework complies with the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA). We demonstrate the use of the MRWSU framework by calculating waste ‘footprints’ that enumerate the full domestic supply chain waste production for Australian consumers.




The work was financially supported by the National eResearch Collaboration Tools and Resources project (NeCTAR) through its Industrial Ecology Virtual Laboratory, and by the Australian Research Council through its Discovery Projects DP0985522 and DP130101293. NeCTAR are Australian Government projects conducted as part of the Super Science initiative and financed by the Education Investment Fund.

We thank the anonymous reviewers for their suggestions which improved an earlier version of this article. Many thanks to Dr Arne Geschke and Dr Chris Dey for their development and operation of the IELab environment, the ABS (Environmental Accounts section) and Dr Anne-Marie Bremner from Encycle Consulting for waste data provision, and Jim West from the CSIRO for the provision of disaggregated physical production data from the CSIRO-UNEP Asia Pacific database. The authors also thank Sebastian Juraszek for expertly managing our advanced computation requirements


Fry, J., Lenzen, M., Giurco, D. and Pauliuk, S. (2018), "Australian Regional Waste Footprints*", Crocker, R., Saint, C., Chen, G. and Tong, Y. (Ed.) Unmaking Waste in Production and Consumption: Towards the Circular Economy, Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 179-190.



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