Reforming waste management
South Australia has introduced many waste management reforms over the past decade that have successfully promoted resource recovery in our state and established our reputation as a leader in this field.
Despite innovation and growth in this sector, feedback from stakeholders has consistently indicated the need for changes to regulatory settings to help unlock the next growth opportunities and the address current challenges within the waste and resources industry.
The South Australian Government is seeking to help realise the economic potential from innovation in waste and resource recovery technologies while at the same time protecting our environment. It is committed to providing the right settings to attract investment, drive innovation and create jobs.
The EPA recently released a discussion paper Reforming waste management – creating certainty for an industry to grow on waste management reform options. The consultation period has now closed and views and submissions received are being reviewed by the government to determine the options to be pursued. .
Mass balance reporting involves a proposal to require licensed waste facilities including transfer stations, resource recovery facilities and waste disposal depots, to report on the monthly tonnages of materials that a site receives, stockpiles, processes and transfers for sale or disposal.
Upfront levy liability involves a proposal to make a wider range of facilities liable for the waste levy, including those that store, recover, recycle or process waste.
Improving stockpiling controls identifies the different impacts of stockpiling and options to address these impacts, including auditing and potential legislative change.
Better managing waste soils and fill briefly reports on this issue and introduces improvement options for consideration, including procurement and waste generators’ duties.
Changes to the waste levy includes exploration of the potential for differential levies for problematic wastes, the potential for increases to the waste levy, and the manner of levy collection at landfills.
Use of financial assurances reports on the EPA’s intention to develop a Financial Assurances Policy.
Expanded transport licensing introduces the idea of licensing additional commercial transporters of waste to cater for collection of domestic waste by private operators, and the transport of construction and demolition waste.
Proximity principle asks whether the concept that waste should be managed as close to its place of origin or generation as is responsibly possible could be a useful option for South Australia – either for particular wastes or generally.
Enhanced recovered product plans briefly reports on the EPA’s intention to implement recovered products plans more effectively in order to better regulate the processing and use of recovered materials. The intention to review cost-recovery models for new products is outlined.
Certificates of compliance discusses the EPA’s intended approach to introducing the regular use of certificates of compliance for a licensee to regularly self-assess compliance and report this to the EPA.
Recovering illegally obtained economic benefit outlines the EPA’s intention to develop a policy to support successful recovery of such benefits.
‘Energy from waste’ technical and policy guidance outlines existing policy and briefly reports on the EPA’s intention to develop further guidance in this area.
Improved site monitoring briefly notes that the EPA will continue to explore how technological advances can support its regulatory work.
Options for changes to the Environment Protection Act 1993 explores a range of amendments to provide more effective tools to manage the waste and resource recovery sector and tackle illegal dumping, including changes to support other reform options identified in the paper.
Innovative change ideas introduces high-level conceptual ideas to gauge the level of early support for further exploration of reform proposals relating to:
- banning the use of microplastics
- managing expanded polystyrene food packaging
- mandatory recycling of food waste
- ‘save as you throw’ waste pricing.