Waste myth: “Landfill levies don’t work” – Australia

Waste myth: “Landfill levies don’t work” – Australia

Posted on May 14, 2023 by DrRossH in Plastic Recycling


The graph above clearly shows that the per capita waste to landfill has decreased in direct proportion to the rise in State landfill levies. There is noise in the data and a lag between rising levies and behaviour change due, I believe, to the delay in getting sorting and processing infrastructure approved and built.

MRA has analysed the regression analysis between state recovery rates and landfill levies and shown that 70 per cent of the growth in recycling in Australia in the last 20 years can be explained by the rise in landfill levies.

No other policy instrument has had the effect that Australia’s landfill levies have. Of course, it would be remiss of me not to say that regulations or outright bans on landfill would be equally, if not more effective. But state governments have so far shown little appetite for bans to landfill. EPR systems also work but so far they have been limited to specific small waste streams such as mobile phones, drink containers or TVs. Similarly, no government has yet introduced economy wide taxes on virgin material use or tax subsidies for the use of recycled content in new materials. So, the levies remain our best current approach.

Levies plus EPR would go a long way to reducing waste and that is dumped and instraed recorver materizsl for recycling.