This page provides information on the requirements for waste depots, including disposal depots (such as landfills) and resource recovery facilities (such as material recovery facilities and composters).
A recycling facility receives, stores and processes pre-sorted single streams of waste and processes it into a recycled product, eg recycled paper, plastic containers or recycled aggregate.
Transfer stations and material recovery facilities (MRF) receive and store waste in a designated area for segregation and resource recovery. They feed recovered wastes into recycling facilities that usually deal with a single recyclable waste stream to produce a recycled product instead of mixed waste for separation.
‘Waste or recycling depots’ which are activities of environmental significance as prescribed by Schedule 1, Part A of the Environmental Protection Act 1993 (the Act) and must be licensed or otherwise authorised under Part 6 of the Act. An environmental authorisation cannot be issued until development approval has been granted.
The Resource recovery and waste transfer depots environmental guidelines have been formulated to assist those establishing depots in South Australia for resource recovery before transfer for disposal.
The guidelines include details of issues to consider and address when preparing development proposals and management plans, which will be referred to the EPA for comment under the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016.
Appropriate development authorisation is required to establish a recycling facility before an environmental authorisation or licence, can be issued.
These guidelines are intended for new and redeveloped facilities where applicable.
Development and operation of waste depots for the disposal of waste (otherwise known as landfill facilities) in South Australia are activities of environmental significance and must be carried out in accordance with the Environment Protection Act 1993 (the Act).
The guideline, Environmental management of landfill facilities – solid waste disposal, sets out the EPA's expectation of landfill operators, developers, planning authorities and regulatory bodies on the site selection, development, design, construction, operation, closure and post closure management of landfill facilities.
Relationship to environment protection policies
Clause 12 and schedule 4 of the Environment Protection (Waste to Resources) Policy 2010, ban certain materials from disposal at landfills.These restrictions and the circumstances under which prohibited wastes may be disposed to landfill are further explained in the guideline, Handling wastes banned from landfills.
Clause 9 of the Environment Protection (Water Quality) Policy 2015, sets out the provisions a person must take into consideration to meet the general environmental duty in relation to waters, including mandatory provisions to prevent harm (including potential harm). In relation to landfill facilities, the revised guideline includes mandatory minimum requirements for the design and construction of landfill facilities. These mandatory provisions are based on the classification of the facility and are captured in Appendices 2–6.
- Current criteria for the classification of waste – including industrial and commercial waste (listed) and waste soil
- Waste definitions
- Wastewater lagoon construction
- Guideline for stockpile management
- Regulatory monitoring and testing – groundwater sampling
- Landfill gas and development near landfills advice for planning authorities and developers
- Waste management, regulatory framework and objectives
- Waste and the South Australian planning system
- Industry code of practice for the management of clinical and related wastes
- Guideline for liquid waste classification test
- Derivation of disposal criteria
The EPA is the primary regulator of large-scale licensed composting operations. We work with operators to ensure that the composting process has a minimum impact on the environment and produces quality compost.
There is a strong push to diversify the range of currently acceptable waste streams as feedstocks. This has increased the risks associated with the conduct of composting works. Of particular concern are the increased risks to groundwater beyond nutrient loading as a result of non-traditional feedstocks.
The EPA supports the use of composting as one of the ways of recovering valuable resources from our waste streams, which would otherwise be sent to landfill.
Biodegradable wastes in landfill produce carbon dioxide, methane and leachate. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas with 23 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide.
An environmental authorisation or licence is required to establish a large-scale composting facility producing (or are capable of producing) over 200 tonnes per annum of mushroom or other compost.
Prior to the issue of a licence development approval must be approved by the Development Assessment Commission (DAC). A comprehensive guide to development assessment process can be found on the DAC website.
Storage & stockpiling
The Guideline for stockpile management has requirements for the management of potential risks associated with stockpiling and storage of various wastes and waste derived materials.
Stockpiling at licensed sites
- South Australian waste and recycling sites are licensed by the EPA under the Environment Protection Act 1993.
- In addition to environmental risks, licence conditions enable the appropriate management of the material circulation risks posed by stockpiling.
- Stockpile conditions are tailored to each site, having regard to a range of matters, including the character of materials, the character of the receiving environment and market scale and availability and the need to maintain the integrity of materials for recycling.
- Maximum allowable stockpile limits may be imposed as a condition of licence and may be varied at any time.
- A Stockpile Management Plan may also be required as a condition of licence.
- Selected facilities already have explicit stockpiling limits in place to promote the circulation of materials, and other conditions, such as undercover storage and bunding requirements, to minimise fire and environmental risks.
For further information on obligations for waste depots and authorisation conditions to promote good stockpile management, refer to:
- Guideline for stockpile management
- Financial assurances and stockpiling – who, when, what and how much
- Stockpiling waste and waste derived products brochure
Further information on waste management, how waste must be disposed of, and penalties for illegal dumping.
There are mandatory requirements for transporting waste (licensed or unlicensed), with penalties of up to $30,000 for non-compliance.
These requirements include:
- Take all reasonable and practicable steps to cover, contain or secure waste.
- Vehicle must be designed and maintained so as to prevent spillage or leakage or waste.
- Take all reasonable and practical steps to prevent spillage or leakage or waste during loading and unloading.
- If a commercial waste transport, have an appropriate emergency spill kit.
- Comply with provisions of the Australian Code for the Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road or Rail