Here's some ways how the goverment has tryed to reduce waste
Waste minimisation Waste minimisation [pdf 3.6 MB] Approximately 18.2 million tonnes of building and demolition waste was generated in Australia in 2010 (Blue Environment and Randell Environmental Consulting, 2013). Of this, 6.25 million tonnes (34%) went to landfill while 11.89 million tonnes (65%) was recycled. Minimising and recycling this waste can have significant social, economic and environmental benefits.A number of states, including Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia, have 'towards zero' waste strategy documents. The strategies set state-wide targets for waste reduction, resource recovery and littering, and specific targets and actions for the municipal and business sectors to deliver more sustainable use of resources. See for example Victoria's Sustainability in action - towards zero waste strategy or South Australia's Waste Strategy 2015-2020. The three Rs of waste minimisation: reduce, reuse, recycle. Reduce consumption of resources by building smaller houses that are better designed for your needs. This is the most effective way to conserve precious resources for use by future generations and reduce waste. It also lowers costs. Improve the accuracy of your ordering so that materials are not wasted nor sit around a site for long periods where they can become damaged. Reuse existing buildings and materials in order to reduce demand for resources, lower waste volumes and save money. A lot of energy and resources go into the materials used to construct a home and due to the mixed nature of these materials most end up in landfill. The following graph shows that the emissions from the energy of the materials required to construct a typical house are nearly equal to the emissions from the energy required to heat or cool that house over a typical 50 year life. Consider renovating an existing house, rather than demolishing the old and building from scratch as very little of the demolished house is recycled or reused. Recycle resources that are left over or have reached the end of their useful life. This reduces demand for new materials and lowers the volume of waste going to landfill. Use materials with high recycled content to create a market for recycled resources. It raises the price paid by recyclers for recovered resources and increases the viability of recycling. A column graph showing the percentage of emissions from various components of a brick veneer house over 50 years. 51% is lost through HVAC energy, 18% through slab and floor, 12% through roof and ceiling, 9% through doors and windows, 5% through insulated brick veneer walls, 4% through interior walls, and 2% through end of life. Source: Rouwette 2010 Emissions from typical brick veneer house over 50 year life. Sending building materials to landfill is like throwing money away. You have already paid for the material, paid someone to deliver it and then paid someone to collect it and throw it away. A new home under construction. Waste materials from the construction are strewn across the front yard. Landfill Our traditional means of waste disposal to landfill is uneconomic. Costs to communities for operating and maintaining landfill sites are high and the availability of suitable land is limited. Reuse options for landfill sites are limited due to potential health hazards. Remedial action is often prohibitively expensive. Emissions and leachate from landfill sites can be highly toxic due to concentrations of heavy metals and toxic chemicals. These toxins find their way into the watertable or waterways, often with disastrous consequences. Tipping fees are increasing rapidly to reflect the true cost of disposal. This increases the cost competitiveness of recycling options and rewards waste minimisation efforts. A photo of a pile of materials at a landfill site. Most of the materials are from construction, and include scrap metal, wood, containers, branches and paper/cardboard. What is building waste? Percentage weight of typical building waste materials Waste description Waste quantity (% of total weight) Source: Department of Environment & Climate Change NSW 2007, Report into the Construction and Demolition Waste Stream Audit 2000-2005 Concrete products 22.9 Fines (<4.75mm) 21.6 Timber 20.0 Clay products (e.g. bricks, tiles) 8.8 Natural aggregates 5.6 Ferrous metals 5.1 Plasterboard 3.7 Paper and cardboard 3.2 Plastic 2.9 Non-ferrous metals 0.6 Other materials 5.6 Total 100 Life cycle and waste Life cycle assessment of waste streams indicates that significant energy savings can be achieved at little or no cost by considered construction and demolition waste management and planned recycling. Materials with high embodied energy (e.g. metals, especially aluminium) or with high environmental cost in extraction can have their life cycle impact reduced by end use recycling. The environmental impact of most materials can be substantially reduced with each reuse.