A 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 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 (metro) or outside its boundary (non-metro). Refer to map which shows the Adelaide metropolitan boundary.
Changes to how the waste levy is collected from landfills commenced on 1 December 2021. As a result of these changes, landfills must have an approved operational use declaration from the EPA to use waste or waste-derived materials on site. The waste levy is payable (as directed by the EPA) in respect of unapproved operational use and unauthorised stockpiling at landfills (please see the below drop down menu for further information).
For detailed information on when the levy is payable, including measuring and reporting requirements, please refer to the Environment Protection Regulations 2009 and the Waste levy and approved operational use guideline (2021).
Waste levy monthly returns are to be submitted via the Environment Licensing Forms (ELF). Please see the following user guides for further information on submitting monthly returns:
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 also 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.
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.
Application for an approved operational use declaration
From 1 December 2021, the operational use of waste (including waste derived material) at landfills attracts the solid waste levy unless it is an approved operational use.
Applications for approved operational use declarations for your site can be made via Environment Licensing Forms (ELF). The Operational use – ELF user guide provides detailed instruction for submitting applications.
Please ensure you include sufficient information with your application to demonstrate that the proposed operational use is necessary and suitable in accordance with regulation 69A(2) of the Environment Protection Regulations 2009.
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 came into effect via amendments to the Environment Protection Regulations 2009 and clause 4 of 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) Variation Regulations 2021
The Waste levy and approved operational use guideline (2021) has been develop to assist licensees in understanding their obligations relating to the waste levy in a helpful and accessible way, including new requirements effective from 1 December 2021.
Waste levy monthly return forms have also been updated on the Environment Licensing Forms (ELF) . The following user guides have been developed to assist licensees in submitting their monthly waste levy returns:
An information session for licensees about the waste levey changes was held on 19 August 2021:
Industry consultation on the proposed amendments was undertaken between 21 August and 21 October 2019 via an Explanatory report and draft legislation.
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 applies to landfills required to use daily cover under EPA licence (see 'Further information' below).
- Waste fill – the $0 levy on waste fill has been 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 attracts 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 attacts 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.
Waste fill and daily cover
From 1 December 2021, the $0 levy on waste fill has been removed, and the applicable metropolitan or non-metropolitan solid waste levy rate applied instead.
This has been replaced with a 10% daily cover deduction. The deduction will be applied to the total levy payment (which includes daily cover material) where licensees are required to use daily cover by condition of licence.
From 1 December 2021, licencees must 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.
Licencess must include waste fill in their levy return when it is disposed of or moved to the landfill cell for use as daily cover (as either solid metro or non-metro waste). This includes any waste fill you already have stockpiled on the site.
Waste fill should not include waste fill in the 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 daily cover is required by licence condition, the 10% daily cover deduction will be automatically calculated and applied when when the monthly levy return is submitted.
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 attracts 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 as outlined earlier), or use of material which has not been received at the site (such as on-site 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 are approved via site-specific approved operational use declarations.
Please see the drop down menu below for information on how to make an application for an approved operational use declaration.
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
- 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.