! THIS IS AN ARCHIVED REPORT  Please click here to view the current report
waste and water use


Waste and water use

We will strive to reduce our waste to landfill and water use where possible.

Our retail businesses produce most of our waste. We are working to reduce the quantity of our waste and to divert as much as possible to recycling, both in our operations and for our customers. Water use is a material issue in our industrial businesses and our focus is on using water more efficiently, or replacing scheme water with reclaimed or recycled water where possible.

Recycling and waste

This year, we decreased our waste to landfill by six per cent to 134,706 tonnes and increased our waste recycled by 10 per cent to 281,545 tonnes. 

Coles diverted an increased amount of organic waste from landfill through its program with SecondBite, which caused a 13 per cent reduction in its waste disposed to landfill. Coles also improved its recycling through improvements in plastic recycling.

Due to store network expansion and sales growth, Bunnings increased both its waste disposed and its recycled waste by 17 per cent and 21 per cent respectively. Click here to read about Bunnings' national program to reuse and recycle plain timber pallets, utilising the backload capacity of vehicles.

Kmart and Target are funding the recovery and recycling of 168 tonnes of discarded television and computer equipment this year, under the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme Product Stewardship Agreement with DHL Supply Chain. Our contribution to this scheme ensures that at least 90 per cent of all e-waste collected is recycled. For more information about where to recycle e-waste, see the Drop Zone website.

Officeworks also collected 291,893 kilograms of computer equipment for recycling through its BringITBack program last year. 


chart data indicator
2014   135
2013   144
2012   159
2011   147
2010   137
2014   282
2013   255
2012   248
2011   213
2010   198
Waste to landfill down six per cent


undefinedAs retailers, many of our divisions can have an impact on waste by considering the life cycle of the products they sell and making changes to how products are packaged. All retail divisions have made commitments in relation to packaging under the Australian Packaging Covenant (APC), to which Wesfarmers is a signatory. 

The APC is a voluntary packaging waste reduction and recycling initiative between governments, the packaging industry, retailers and consumer brand owners. 

Wesfarmers’ Action Plan and Annual Report are available here.

Improvements to packaging this year include:

  • Officeworks recycles its secondary and tertiary packaging. In the last year, Officeworks collected 3,021 tonnes of paper, cardboard and plastics for recycling. 
  • At Bunnings remote regional sites, recycling is achieved through a back loading service to recover cardboard and plastic bales back to a distribution centre for recycling.
  • Target and Target Country provide selected sites with commingled waste collections and hangers.
  • Coles provides recycling opportunities where facilities and costs allow, including: food/organics recycling; clear plastic shrink wrap; waxed cardboard boxes; polystyrene boxes; and oil. Coles also offers soft plastic packaging recycling for customers at 500 Coles stores, recycling over four tonnes a week. Click here to view how Coles recycle soft plastics.
  • All Kmart stores have facilities to recycle cardboard, plastic film, garment hangers, damaged goods, outdated IT assets, florescent tubes and printer cartridges. Kmart Tyre and Auto Service sites have facilities to recycle used tyres, batteries and other workshop materials.
  • Wesfarmers Industrial and Safety has conducted a supplier survey to identify opportunities to improve packaging design, and have completed the packaging review self-assessment with 98.6 per cent of 'own brand' sourced products.  

Reducing water use

This year, the Group recorded water use of 17 thousand megalitres with all businesses except Bunnings and Resources decreasing water consumption. Of this figure, five thousand megalitres, or 30 per cent of other water used, is reclaimed and recycled water at the Curragh mine site, which has only been monitored since 2013. Curragh increased its use of reclaimed and recycled water by nine per cent this year and decreased its use of municipal/scheme water by three per cent.

Excluding reclaimed water, water consumption across the Group declined four per cent this year.

The businesses use different approaches when estimating water consumption. Target’s water use methodology has been updated to reflect the standard industry approach, which has resulted in a significantly lower water use figure for this year. Bunnings’ water use has increased slightly, in line with store network expansion, but water use intensity (water use per revenue dollar) is consistent with last year.   

Water Use By Source

Water Use By Source


Contaminated sites

Some of our businesses are actively managing contaminated sites. Wesfarmers is involved in the remediation of several contaminated sites that were owned or leased by former Wesfarmers businesses that have ceased operations from the sites. Wesfarmers continues to undertake ongoing monitoring and reporting obligations on the sites and in most cases active remediation activities have been completed. The Chemical, Energy and Fertiliser business, CSBP, continues to monitor groundwater and comply with the statutory audit process in relation to a former fertiliser site at Bayswater in Western Australia. 

Other environmental reporting

Carbon Disclosure Project

As in previous years, Wesfarmers participated in the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) Carbon Survey, the CDP Water Survey and the CDP Forests Survey. Wesfarmers’ responses to these surveys are available on the CDP website. 

National Pollutant Inventory

Two of our divisions, WesCEF and Resources, are required to report under the National Pollutant Inventory (NPI). Full details are available on the NPI website, with 2012/13 data available for Kleenheat Gas Pty Ltd, Wesfarmers LPG Pty LtdCSBP Limited and Curragh Queensland Mining.

Potential environmental non-conformances

From time to time, an environmental licence condition is either breached or not fully met. When these incidents occur, the relevant business takes immediate action to mitigate any damage and notifies the government agency in accordance with requirements. No recorded events this year resulted in any material environmental harm, injury, prosecution or fine.  Please see our Chemical, Energy and Fertiliser and Resources websites for details of their potential environmental non-conformances.