Industry Report

Australia: How to take advantage of waste and waste management opportunities

Australia’s waste and waste management market is estimated to be approximately $AUD 17Billion (CHF ~12 Milliarden) or 1% of GDP annually and growing at a rate of 9% per annum.

waste management

Before 2018 a large part of Australia’s recyclable waste was shipped offshore to China, but since the Operation National Sword, where China banned the importation of certain types of waste, a ‘recycling crisis’ resulted in Australia and thus a need and opportunity for new solutions by innovative Swiss waste management companies.

Recycling of Municipal Solid Waste, Commercial and Industrial Waste and Construction and Demolition Waste is relatively low. Recycling rates differ across the various sub-sectors, but most waste currently ends up in landfill sites because waste management infrastructure, current attitudes, and costs of disposal support Australia’s linear economy practices.

Swiss Cleantech companies specialising in waste and waste management solutions are invited to take a closer look at the many opportunities in the Australian market in sectors such as plastic waste, hazardous waste, organic waste and E-waste.


  • According to the Australian’s Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Australia generated 75.8 million tonnes of solid waste in the 2018-2019 period, over half of which was sent to landfill
  • Australia’s national science Agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), has determined that local council waste is currently at 560kg per capita, which ranks them 11th in the world
  • Only about 28% of all textiles in Australia are recycled and there are no large scale industrial solutions for recycling textiles in Australia
  • Domestic food waste accounts for 34% of all food waste in Australia and is a significant environmental issue
  • The recycling for plastic waste in Australia is under 10%, which is made up of mainly PET and HDPE and now that export of plastic is banned there are large stockpiles of plastics in Australia waiting for innovative solutions


  • The federal government’s Australian Recycling Investment Fund (managed by the CEFC) is investing A$100 million (~CHF61m) in large-scale projects/technologies that reduce landfill. This will create more opportunities for Swiss technology providers to partner with local companies in the sector.
  • Medical waste volumes are anticipated to grow over the next five years, consequently demand for the treatment and disposal of hazardous materials is projected to rise as a share of the revenue
  • Demand from the household’s market is projected to increase due to social distance measures and working from home requirements, which has increased the waste people produce at home
  • Recycling could make significant reductions in material usage in the construction sector if Swiss companies have economic, technological solutions to offer
  • New material separation technologies are being sought for metals, textiles and liquid waste
  • E-waste’s growth is driven by the continuing propagation of electronics and electronic devices in consumer and business communities. E-waste components contain valuable and hazardous materials that are not currently being recovered and reused to any great extent.

Switzerland Global Enterprise would like to invite all Swiss companies active in waste management to take a closer look at the market report on the website and explore these opportunities further by attending the Waste and Waste Management Webinar on Wednesday, 5.5.2021 – for registrations please consult our website.


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