The waste levy is payable to the EPA on solid or liquid waste disposed of by landfilling, incineration or via liquid waste depot (ie disposal at licensed waste disposal depots under the Environment Protection Act 1993.
The waste levy aims to incentivise resource recovery by increasing the costs of waste disposal, making resource recovery more financially viable by comparison.
The waste levy is paid to the EPA by waste disposal depots only on waste disposed of on their site (eg by landfilling). Where waste disposal depots also undertake a resource recovery process on site, no levy is paid on the recovered material (see diagram below).
Other types of waste depots, such as resource recovery facilities that do not undertake disposal on site, are not required to pay the levy to the EPA. The waste levy is payable only on residual wastes from resource recovery processes when they are disposed of at a waste disposal depot.
Waste levy rates vary depending on whether the waste is collected within metropolitan Adelaide or outside its boundary.
Waste levy rates 2021–22
Levy rates for solid and liquid waste:
|1 July 2021–30 June 2022||Solid waste depot levy||Liquid waste levy|
Record keeping and survey requirements for landfills from 1 July 2021
Mass balance reporting (MBR) requirements came into effect on 1 July 2021.
MBR requires waste facilities receiving over 20,000 tonnes of solid waste per annum (or otherwise directed) to report to the EPA on material flows at their site on a monthly basis.
Only landfills receiving over 20,000 tonnes of solid waste per annum are required to undertake mass balance reporting.
However, amendments to the Environment Protection Regulations from 1 July 2021 require new record keeping and whole-of-site survey requirements for landfills.
Record keeping requirements
New regulations 75A, 75B and 75G specify record keeping requirements which apply to all landfills (excluding councils reporting using the population formula under regulation 75).
Whole-of-site survey requirements
New regulations 74 and 74A specify requirements for whole-of-site surveys for landfills disposing of 10,000 tonnes of solid waste per annum.
Previous requirements to provide an annual survey of the landfill cell have been updated to require an annual whole-of-site survey.
A baseline whole-of site-survey is also required to be provided by 30 September 2021.
Section 5 of the Waste reporting, record keeping and measurement standard outlines detailed requirements for the survey.
Please see the MBR webpage for more information.
Changes to waste levy collection from 1 December 2021
Changes to how the waste levy is collected from landfills commenced on 1 December 2021.
These changes will come into effect via amendments to the Environment Protection Regulations 2009 and the Environment Protection (Waste to Resources) Policy 2010 through the following amendment legislation:
- Environment Protection (Waste Depot Levy) Variation Regulations 2021
- Environment Protection (Waste to Resources) Policy (Waste Depot Levy) Amendment Notice 2021
Amendment legislation was published in the Government Gazette on 18 February 2021.
An information session for licensees about the changes was held on 19 August 2021:
The waste levy regulations have not been substantially updated since their commencement in the early 1990s. The changes ensure that the solid waste levy is collected in a fair and consistent manner and continues to drive positive resource recovery and environmental outcomes. The changes include:
- Daily cover – a 10% daily cover deduction on waste levy payments will apply to landfills required to use daily cover (see 'Further information' below).
- Waste fill – the $0 levy on waste fill will be removed, meaning the full applicable solid waste levy rate applies to disposal of waste fill.
- Operational use – operational use of waste at waste disposal facilities will attract the solid waste levy unless it is an approved operational use (see 'Further information' below).
- Stockpiles – stockpiling at waste disposal facilities which is in contravention of EPA licence conditions will attract the solid waste levy.
- Penalties – lower penalties will be prescribed for default on waste levy payments which are self reported by the licensee to the EPA, or where the EPA is satisfied that all reasonable and practicable measures were taken to prevent the default from occurring.
Industry consultation on the proposed amendments was undertaken between 21 August and 21 October 2019 via an Explanatory report and draft legislation.
Waste fill and daily cover
From 1 December 2021, the $0 levy on waste fill will be removed, with the applicable metropolitan or non-metropolitan rate instead applied.
This is being replaced with the 10% daily cover deduction. The deduction will be applied to the total levy payment, which will includes cover material, where licensees are required to use daily cover by conditions of licence.
From 1 December 2021, you will need to include all waste fill disposed of or used as daily cover in your monthly waste levy return as either metropolitan or non-metropolitan solid waste.
Only include waste fill in your levy return when it is disposed of or moved to the landfill cell for use as daily cover. This includes any waste fill you already have stockpiled on the site.
You should not include waste fill in your monthly levy return when it is received for stockpiling or when it is used for an operational purpose, such as capping or internal roads.
If you are required to use daily cover by licence condition, the 10% daily cover deduction will be automatically calculated and applied when you submit your monthly levy return.
It is noted that there are no changes being made in relation to use of on-site excavated soil. This can continue to be used as cover without being reported in monthly levy returns.
Approved operational use
From 1 December 2021 the operational use of waste (including waste-derived material) at landfills will attract the solid waste levy unless it is an approved operational use.
Operational uses requiring approval include the use of any waste or waste-derived materials received at the landfill and used within the landfill site for operational needs. Examples include capping, interim cover, screening mounds, internal and perimeter roads.
It does not include material while it is being stockpiled, material used for daily cover (as that is subject to a separate deduction), or use of material which has not been received at the site (such as excavated soil).
Operational use approvals are for the purposes of establishing levy liability on levyable waste and will reflect uses permitted to occur under licence.
Operational uses will primarily be approved via site-specific declarations.
From 1 December 2021 you will need to ensure you have declarations for any relevant operational use you undertake in order to extinguish levy liability. This means obtaining declarations for existing operational uses in preparation for 1 December. The EPA is currently developing functionality through ELF to make applications for declarations. Until that time, applications can be made via email.
To apply for a declaration:
Email (mark subject as ‘Application for approved operational use’)
Please ensure to quote applicable EPA licence number
Information to be provided:
- description of the use
- location of the use within the site (site maps may be required for this)
- material type – see section 3 of the Waste Reporting, Record Keeping and Measurement Standard
- quantity (in tonnes) – see section 4 of the Waste Reporting, Record Keeping and Measurement Standard
- timeframe for the use to occur (this may be ongoing, eg ‘up to 5 tonnes per month’)
- other supporting info (eg development approvals, site maps, engineering specifications, etc).
Note: If you require the declaration to be in place for 1 December 2021 please submit your application by 24 September 2021.
Since 1 July 2017, no levy applies to the disposal of asbestos.
The levy waiver for asbestos is in place on an ongoing basis. It applies to asbestos waste that is packaged and disposed in accordance with:
- Chapter 8 of the Work, Health and Safety Regulations 2012, or
- The requirements for lawful unlicensed removalists.
'Asbestos waste’ is defined in the Work, Health and Safety Regulations 2021 to mean:
- material containing asbestos as part of its design, and
- disposable items used during asbestos removal work including plastic sheeting and disposable tools.
Service providers may still charge a fee for asbestos waste disposal to cover their operating costs.
The waiver does not include asbestos-contaminated soil.
Levy for scrap metal recovery
A 50% reduced levy rate applies to the disposal of residual waste resulting from the shredding of scrap metal, known as ‘shredder floc’.
|Shredder floc levy||1 July 2020–30 June 2021||1 July 2021–30 June 2022|
The reduced levy rate applies only to shredder floc from facilities licensed as ‘scrap metal treatment works’ under the Environment Protection Act 1993.
The reduced levy rate is reviewed on an annual basis.
Levy for charitable waste
Between 1 July 2019 and 30 June 2021, a reduced levy rate applied to the disposal of waste resulting from donations to charitable recyclers.
The partial levy waiver has ceased and been replaced with the Charitable Recyclers Subsidy Program administered by Green Industries SA. The program provides financial relief to charitable recyclers aligned to the solid waste levy.
Historic waste levy rates
Records of past waste levy rates are available on Data SA.