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The EPA regulates the waste and resource recovery industry through the provisions of the Environment Protection Act 1993 (the Act). In addition, the EPA has specific powers in relation to conditions of approval for activities that require approval under the Development Act 1993.
Some important sections of the Act for the waste to resource recovery sector include:
- Section 10 – Objects of the Act
The objects include the requirement to prevent, minimise or eliminate harm to the environment as far as possible.
The EPA does this by regulating activities, products, substances and services that may cause environmental harm from pollution or production of waste.
The objects also include ecologically sustainable development and a precautionary approach to the assessment of environmental harm.
- Section 25 – general environmental duty
This section outlines the responsibilities of a person, whether or not licensed, when undertaking an activity that may pollute the environment, to take all reasonable and practicable measures to prevent or minimise environmental harm.
- Section 36 – requirement for licence
This section outlines the requirement for a person undertaking a prescribed activity of environmental significance to have an environmental authorisation.
- Sections 40 and 48 – grant of licence and annual fee
These sections outline the requirement for the holder of an environmental authorisation to pay an authorisation fee. Further information on fees is provided in Environment Protection Regulations 2009.
- Section 113 – waste depot levy
This section defines who needs to pay the waste depot levy and is linked to the Environment Protection Regulations 2009 which contains additional information on who must pay the levy and how much to pay.
- Schedule 1
This lists the activities of environmental significance for which a licence from the EPA to operate is required. The majority of waste related activities are listed under Activity 3, Waste Treatment and Disposal.
Schedule 1 is currently under review with particular focus on the waste activities.
- Environment Protection (Wastes to Resources) Policy 2010, further details available here
- National Environment Protection (Movement of Controlled Waste Between States and Territories) Measure
Provides a national framework for the management of the movement of controlled wastes between States and Territories, including ensuring that the controlled wastes are properly identified, transported and handled in ways that are consistent with environmentally sound practices.
- National Environment Protection (Used Packaging Materials) Measure
Reduce the environmental degradation arising from the disposal of used packaging and conserve virgin materials through the encouragement of waste avoidance and the reuse and recycling of used packaging materials by supporting and complementing the voluntary strategies in the Australian Packaging Covenant.
- Product stewardship for end of life tyres
The framework aims to reduce the negative environmental, social and economic impacts arising from end-of-life tyres and to encourage the sustainable consumption of products derived from recycling end-of-life tyres.
The EPA also honours national and international environmental agreements including:
- Agenda 21
Adopted at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (popularly known as the Earth Summit).
As a signatory, Australia is committed to preventing environmental degradation and establishing a basis for a sustainable future.
- The Basel Convention
As a signatory, Australia is committed to the safe and appropriate disposal of hazardous wastes.
- The Stockholm Convention on protecting human health and the environment from the effects of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs). Australia is implementing our responsibilities through a national strategy that includes the development of scheduled waste management plans.
- The Rotterdam Convention
On the promotion of shared responsibilities in relation to importation of hazardous chemicals.
- National Environment Protection Measures (NEPMs)
Documenting agreed national objectives for protecting or managing particular aspects of the environment.
Last modified: 07/12/2012 03:59 pm