Australian Bureau of Statistics data collected in 2018-2019 shows the country generates over 78 million tonnes of waste each year, while the average Australian produces over half a tonne of household waste annually.
UWA sustainable development researcher Silvia Lozeva says major improvement is required in the way our country deals with waste.
“I think the current attitude of the majority of Australians needs to change, this is a serious issue and one that we cannot just sweep under the carpet,” she says.
Dr Lozeva also believes the long standing issue can only be improved by a holistic strategy driven by leaders in the area.
“The government needs to be stronger on this, in terms of policy and the way it is being promoted in society,” she says.
Sharka Hornakova is the founder of Donut Waste, a Perth-based waste management and sustainability start-up, aiming to provide solutions for businesses that regularly use materials that end up in landfill.
Ms Hornakova says although the pandemic played a major role in businesses being able to improve their sustainability habits, it acted as a wake up call to start taking immediate action.
“Given COVID, it’s been really tough for some of the business owners to prioritise sustainability but it has also made some of us realise that now is the best time to do something about it,” she says.
Ms Hornakova believes there are plenty of people trying to do the right thing, but there’s a long way to go.
“There are people who care about the environment and sustainability, but here is a just a little bit behind in the infrastructure and development of waste solutions because we are such a young country.”
Despite the concerning data on waste management in Australia, Ms Hornakova says the future for sustainability in our state remains positive.
“ The future is bright, the future of waste and sustainability is coming together,” she says.
“The whole world is becoming more aware of what we have to do.