A levy on waste going to landfill began on 1 July 2019 at $75 per tonne.
The levy is part of a the waste strategy for Queensland to increase recycling and resource recovery, and reduce waste. The levy will encourage Queenslanders to reduce, reuse and recycle more, only sending waste to landfill if it cannot be recovered.
Why do we need a waste levy?
Around 10.9 million tonnes of waste was produced in 2017–18 in Queensland, enough to fill almost 9000 Olympic-sized swimming pools. The amount of waste we produce is also growing faster than our population.
Queensland is a major underperformer in recycling and resource recovery with more than half of our waste ending up in landfill.
One of the reasons for this is that Queensland is the only mainland state without a waste levy —resulting in Queensland becoming a hotspot for interstate rubbish.
Waste levy zone
The levy zone includes 39 out of 77 local government areas and includes Tablelands Regional Council. This covers around 90% of Queensland’s population and is where the majority of waste is generated and disposed.
Unless exemptions apply, waste going to landfill in Queensland will incur the levy, except if the waste is both generated and disposed of in the non-levy zone.
How much is the levy?
The levy applies to all waste which is disposed of in landfill.
The levy is charged at $75 per tonne for general waste (municipal solid waste, commercial and industrial, construction and demolition). Higher levies apply for regulated wastes.
Are there exemptions?
Some specific exemptions to the levy are available in particular circumstances, such as natural disasters, lawfully managed and transported asbestos, clean earth, and those approved by the Department of Environment and Science.
Charitable recycling organisations can also apply for exemptions for items donated which can’t be used or recycled.
How is the levy paid?
Landfill operators are required to pay the levy to the Queensland Government.
Each operator (Council or privately-owned) will determine how the levy is passed on to their customers, for example, through increased fees at the gate.
What does this mean for households?
The Queensland Government has committed to ensuring the levy has no direct impact on households. To deliver this, Councils will receive annual payments to offset the costs of the waste levy associated with domestic waste.
There are many Queensland households who have commercial waste collection services that are not covered by this arrangement. Some examples may include caravan parks, manufactured home parks, retirement villages, boarding houses, crisis accommodation, gated communities and rural residents with commercial bulk-waste arrangements. To ensure all households are not directly impacted by the levy, Queensland Government is working on developing an assistance scheme, to offset the cost of the levy for residents in these types of accommodation.
What does it mean for businesses?
Businesses are encouraged to look at how they can reduce waste, separate waste streams and recycle as efficiently as possible to help reduce the amount of waste going to landfill.
It is also a good idea to find out how levy fees will be managed by your waste service provider, and finding out more about your waste collection services—how it impacts your ability to recycle and what options are available to you.
How you can help
Many Queensland families are already doing their bit to reduce their household waste and boost recycling. Every small action you take can make a big difference.
Reduce your food waste
- look at what you have at home before you go shopping
- shop with a list and check used-by dates on your food
- freeze food before it expires
- avoid plastic packaging by buying loose fruit and vegetables instead of pre-packaged
- choose products made from recycled materials
- buy products that last longer
Choose to refuse and reuse
- say ‘no’ to single-use products like straws and balloons
- choose reusable items over disposable ones, like plates, cutlery, bags, drink bottles and coffee cups
- donate your quality goods to charity or buy and sell secondhand goods
- visit trc.qld.gov.au to find out more about recycling in your area
- find out if other recycling options are available near you at recyclingnearyou.com.au
- know our recycling rules for better recycling:
- Do not put your recyclables into the recycling bin in a plastic bag.
- Do not put soft, scrunchable plastics in the recycling bin.
Clean recycling items to make sure they are accepted for recycling. Find out more.