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Waste management strategy for the Northern Territory 2015-2022



Waste management strategy for the Northern Territory 2015-2022

Other title

Northern Territory waste management strategy for 2015-2022


Northern Territory Environment Protection Authority


E-Publications; E-Books; PublicationNT




This Strategy provides a basis for understanding and improving the management of waste across the Northern Territory (the Territory) to reduce the generation of waste, increase rates of resource recovery and to minimise environmental impacts caused by waste. It provides an overarching summary of the waste management issues currently being faced in the Territory.


Bibliography pages 17-18

Table of contents

Purpose -- Management issues -- Objectives -- Management actions -- Background -- Conclusions on waste management for the Territory -- Further reading -- Summary of NT EPA management actions -- Appendix A: Key waste and resource recovery principles -- Appendix B: Policy and legislation.




Hazardous wastes -- Northern Territory -- Management; Refuse and refuse disposal -- Northern Territory -- Management; Recycling (Waste, etc) -- Government Policy -- Northern Territory

Publisher name

Northern Territory Government

Place of publication



24 pages : colour illustrations ; 30 cm.

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

Copyright owner

Northern Territory Government



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15 Waste Management Strategy for the Northern Territory 20152022 mechanisms can be developed for the early detection of surface water pollution. The physical, chemical and biological breakdown of refuse also produces landfill gas (LFG). LFG consists primarily of Methane (CH4) and Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and is generated in all landfills that contain organic (decomposable) materials, increasing the emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. LFG has potential for use as a fuel, but when released into the atmosphere or the groundwater LFG may present toxic hazards, both acute and chronic, including asphyxiation and explosion hazards. LFG collection and control systems are important to prevent gas accumulation. Landfills around the Territory are designed to various standards. Most do not have liners in place or gas collection systems, and stormwater is rarely controlled to prevent offsite contamination. Poorly designed landfills with few opportunities to separate waste streams result in short trench lifespans and excessive areas designated for waste disposal. Where landfills are unfenced and unmanned, or inaccessible to the community, poor waste management practices can result. This can include littering, illegal dumping and indiscriminate disposal of waste streams to landfill, and can result in public health impacts. 5.4.2 Litter and illegal dumping Litter and illegal dumping cause serious environmental and social impacts, and are a financial burden on Territorians. In the NT, illegal dumping is particularly prevalent in catchment reserves managed by Power and Water Corporation, and on vacant Crown land managed by the Territory Governments Department of Lands, Planning and the Environment (DLPE). The DLPE has identified several hot spots to monitor for illegal dumping, and engages contractors to undertake the clean-up work on its behalf. Illegal dumping can introduce pests and weeds and facilitate higher rates of erosion by interfering with natural vegetation cover. Serious forms of illegal dumping including chemicals or asbestos can cause serious injury or harm and can lead to environmental pollution. Through the 24-hour NT EPA Pollution Hotline the community can report occurrences of illegal dumping for investigation, commonly involving building materials and concrete rubble, vehicle bodies and green waste. The procedure for responding to litter is not well coordinated in the Territory. Various NT Government agencies and local Councils undertake activities to address litter within their jurisdictions. While the councils commit staff and resources to education and clean-up programs, litter remains an ongoing issue. The 2012-13 Keep Australia Beautiful National Litter Index (KAB Litter Index) reported that there were 51 items per 1000m2 on average recorded across the 76 sites that were surveyed in the Territory. This was slightly lower than the national average of 56 items per 1000m2. Cigarette butts were the most frequently identified litter item, and uncategorized plastic objects the largest contributor to volume in the litter stream. The KAB Litter Index suggests that the number of regulated containers in the litter stream fell immediately following the introduction of the Container Deposit Scheme (CDS) in January 2012. This is the Territorys key resource recovery initiative, and has seen approximately 155 million beverage containers returned to collection depots. The KAB Litter Index also indicates a notable decrease in the average number of plastic bags littered pre- and post- the Territorys Plastic Bag Ban introduced in 2011 under the EP(BC&PB)Act. A high level analysis conducted on overall plastic bag use suggests that a reduction of approximately 10.3 million plastic bags has occurred as a result of the Ban. The volumes of data generated by the KAB Litter Index and the CDS program allows for a review of the effectiveness of litter abatement and resource recovery initiatives. The information available on end-point waste disposal is less accessible, with no single authority responsible for collating and assessing this datum in the Territory. 5.5 DATA AVAILABILITY Extensive resource recovery data are currently available through quarterly and annual reporting through approvals issued under the EP(BC&PB)Act. Outside of the beverage container resource stream, licensed waste handlers provide annual waste volume reports to the NT EPA, but data are limited from sites without weighbridge facilities and unlicensed waste facilities. Data on the amount of waste being diverted from, or disposed of to landfill, is essential to set waste reduction targets for the future. The lack of reliable and complete waste collection and management data for the Territory limits the critical assessment of strategic goals and performance indicators. Going into 2015, the NT EPA will be launching an online licensing system, which is expected to streamline the process for reporting and analysing data from licensed facilities. The greater ability to track waste movements will improve the capacity of the NT EPA to investigate illegal dumping within the Territory, and meet national reporting obligations under the National Environment Protection (Movement of Controlled Wastes between States and Territories) Measure for interstate tracking of hazardous materials.