The EPA regulates the management of solid and liquid waste in South Australia, including the transport, handling, storage, treatment and disposal of waste, as well as activities that produce certain types of waste.
The EPA works with the waste and resource recovery industry and other agencies, such as Zero Waste SA to promote sustainable waste management practices, minimise waste and encourage resource recovery.
We also administer South Australia’s highly successful container deposit legislation, which has significantly reduced litter in our state.
Waste and resource recovery
Waste management is transforming. The old model that relied on landfill as the primary method of waste disposal is on its way out, replaced by a new model that aims to avoid the production of waste in the first place or reduce, reuse, recycle and recover waste when it cannot be avoided.
The shift in waste management away from relying on landfills as the primary method for disposal, is consistent with South Australia's Strategic Plan which includes the target of reducing waste to landfill by 25% by 2014 and aligns with the implementation of the waste hierarchy model of waste management.
The waste management objective in the Environment Protection (Waste to Resources) Policy 2010 (W2R EPP) aims to achieve sustainable waste management by applying the waste management hierarchy consistently with the principles of ecologically sustainable development set out in section 10 of the Environment Protection Act 1993 (the Act).
South Australia’s Waste Strategy, primarily implemented by Zero Waste SA, combined with targets for specific waste streams, aims to achieve the state’s vision of South Australia being clean, green and sustainable.
‘Waste to resources’ is an approach that involves waste minimisation and the consideration of wastes as potential resources in preference to disposal.
The EPA’s role in achieving sustainable waste management by promoting environmentally sound practices by all South Australians is primarily done through the Act; however there is a range of other legislation relevant to the waste and resource recovery industry.
The EPA’s goals in relation to the waste and resource recovery sector are outlined in:
- section 10 – Objects of the Act
- to promote the principles of ecologically sustainable development, including avoiding, remedying or mitigating any adverse effects of activities on the environment. This will be done through programmes to encourage the reduction, reuse and recycling of material and natural recourses
- waste minimisation is achieved by regulating activities, products, substances and services that, through pollution or production of waste, cause environmental harm and the generation, storage, transportation, treatment and disposal of waste
- to require persons engaged in polluting activities to progressively make environmental improvements, these improvements will increase in practicality through technological and economic developments.
- EPA Strategic Plan: sustainable use of resources
- EPA Board’s Waste to Resources Subcommittee Report
- to minimise the risk of environmental harm occurring
- to support the highest and best, safe available use of secondary materials in accordance with the waste management hierarchy.
The EPA, through the Waste Reform Project, developed legislation and guidance documentation on disposal alternatives to ensure they are conducted in a scientifically sound, sustainable and beneficial manner and will not create an unacceptable risk of harm to the environment or human health.
To achieve the waste to resources management goals for South Australia, the EPA:
- administers the Act, including:
- developing licence and DA conditions for facilities within the waste and resource recovery sector
- implementing the Used Packaging Materials legislation, with the aim of reducing the volume of packaging send to landfill
- implementing the provisions dealing with beverage container deposits and the prevention of environmental harm.
- supports hazardous waste management programs and services, such as the Hazardous Household Waste Depot to promote safe and sustainable chemical disposal