National standard released to harmonise resource recovery data and reporting

By Rachael Ridley  October 7th, 2021

The Australian Government’s Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment has released a national data and reporting standard for waste and resource recovery. The standard aims to improve reporting and data sets by providing standardised measurements and definitions across all states and territories.


Created over 18 months in consultation with industry and state and territory governments, the new Australian standard for waste and resource recovery data and reporting will provide a common reference point for waste-related data, including nationally consistent definitions, concepts and classifications (such as for materials and types of infrastructure). 

To a significant extent, state and territory data systems have developed independently to date, with each having its own set of classifications, terminology and reporting systems that may be embedded in their respective legislation, policy, regulation and licences. Differences between these systems can increase costs and uncertainty for national waste businesses, make it harder to align state and territory policies, and increase the difficulty in compiling national reports and data sets.

The national standard aims to harmonise systems across all states and territories to improve consistency and accuracy of measurements and reporting of waste generation and management in Australia. Included in the standard are material classifications and clear definitions of waste-related terminology to clarify actual or potential ambiguity in national conversations on waste data, as well as guidelines for voluntary reporting by states, territories and other data providers. 

Who will use the standard?

The national standard is designed to help those who generate, collect, collate, transform and report data from waste receiving facilities, including: 

  • the Commonwealth

  • states and territories

  • industry bodies that collect and use waste data

  • regional waste management groups

  • municipal councils

  • waste auditors

  • consultants, academics and analysts

What does the standard cover?

The standard builds on the Australian hazardous waste data and reporting standard established in 2017. It’s intended to drive reporting at all levels of the waste hierarchy, from waste avoidance through to disposal, however, this first iteration has little focus on the higher levels of the hierarchy. The standard is expected to develop over time to encompass circular economy measures and issues.

To learn more about the new standard, visit the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment’s website


Rachael Ridley

Rachael joined Planet Ark in early 2019 after eight years working in media and publishing as a producer, editor and writer. Rachael loves using her skills in content creation and communication to instigate positive environmental behaviour change. Outside of work, Rachael enjoys spending time in nature, listening to music and patting dogs.

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