Environment Protection (Waste to Resources) Policy 2010
The Environment Protection (Waste to Resources) Policy 2010 (W2R EPP):
- provides regulatory underpinning for South Australia’s Waste Strategy
- promotes the implementation of the waste management hierarchy, improved resource recovery and reduced waste going to landfill
- helps to broaden the responsibility for waste management amongst stakeholders
- helps avoid or minimise the risks of environmental harm from waste management
The waste management objective of the W2R EPP is to:
…achieve sustainable waste management by applying the waste management by applying the waste management hierarchy consistently with the principles of ecologically sustainable development.
The EPA must take the waste management objective into account:
- when administering the policy
- in determining matters under the Environment Protection Act 1993 in relation to environmental authorisations (including licences), and
- in determining matters in relation to development applications under the Development Act 1993.
To achieve the waste management objectives, waste management in South Australia should:
- Promote best practice and accountable waste management.
- Include effective recording, monitoring and reporting systems.
- Promote environmental responsibility and involvement in waste avoidance, waste minimisation and waste management within the community.
The Guidelines for the safe handling and reuse of biosolids in South Australia cover the production and use of biosolids to minimise the risk of adverse impacts on the surrounding land, water and air.
The municipal and septic wastewater treatment process produces both a solid and a liquid waste stream. The solid residues are referred to as sludge. Biosolids are sludges that have been treated to a standard suitable for beneficial reuse. That is, stabilised organic solids derived totally or in part from wastewater treatment processes which can be managed safely to utilise beneficially their nutrient, soil conditioning, energy or other value.
The guidelines will assist the producers and end users of biosolids meet their general environmental duty under the Environment Protection Act 1993, and where developed using current and historical understanding of the safe and reliable production, handling and management of biosolids.
The objectives of the guidelines are to
- set minimum biosolids treatment and quality standards
- provide a classification scheme to determine appropriate uses of biosolids based on their contaminant concentrations and the treatment processes used to reduce pathogens, odour and the potential for vector attraction
- communicate the obligations of producers, reprocessors, transporters and end users of biosolids under legislation
- suggest best practice for selection and management of application sites
- ensure that there are adequate controls to protect the environment and public health with regard for occupational health and safety
- suggest monitoring, reporting and record keeping systems to demonstrate compliance with the general environmental duty under the section 25 of the EP Act.
This guideline does not address the handling and disposal or reuse of:
- biosolids or sludges from WWTPs which accept solely industrial wastes
- grease trap wastes
- screenings, grit and scum
- sewer silt and stormwater waste
- drinking water treatment sludges
- septic tank waste.
For guidance on the management of septic tank waste please refer to the Septage management guideline.
As knowledge changes and develops with new innovations, science and understanding, these guidelines will require periodical updating to reflect best current practice, and as such the EPA welcomes comment and suggestions for improving these guidelines. Please refer to the contact information for the EPA to provide a submission.”
Energy from waste
‘Energy from waste’ is a term used to describe treatment technologies or processes undertaken for the primary purpose of generating and maximising the production of a usable form of energy including heat, electricity, or fuel from waste. A range of these technologies are used widely overseas and to a limited degree in Australia.
As the South Australian industry explores further ways to safely recover resources, the EPA will be required to consider Energy from Waste applications.
This position statement aims to provide clarity and certainty for industry on the regulation of these activities.
The position statement has been developed with regard to the feedback received during consultation on the discussion paper Enhancing resource recovery and discussing the place of energy recovery in 2017. Submissions closed on 21 June 2019.
Certain materials are banned from disposal from landfills, due to there being readily available resource recovery opportunities for such materials and/or due to the environmental risks those items pose if disposed to landfill.
The following types of waste are currently banned from disposal to landfill:
Cardboard and paper
Lead acid batteries
Plastic packaging (PET, HDPE, PP, LDPE, PVC or PS)
Televisions, computers and white goods
Vegetative matter (council kerbside collected)
Any other electrical or electronic equipment
For further information, see the guideline on Handling wastes banned from landfills.
Resource recovery requirements
Suitable waste produced in metropolitan Adelaide is required to be subject to resource recovery processes prior to being able to be disposed of to landfill.
Please refer to the following guidelines
- Approvals for resource recovery facilities clauses 11(5) and 12(6)
- Resource recovery processing – the making of clause 11(7) determinations regarding sufficient treatment
A summary of the requirements is provided in the diagram below.
The South Australian Government has banned single-use plastics. The Single-use and Other Plastics Products (Waste Avoidance) Act 2020 restricts and prohibits single-use plastic straws, cutlery and beverage stirrers, expanded polystyrene cups, bowls, plates, clamshell containers and oxo-degradable plastic products.
Exemptions under the Single-use and Other Plastics Products (Waste Avoidance) Act 2020 are provided under the Single-use and Other Plastic Products (Waste Avoidance) Regulations 2021.
The latest prohibitions to come into effect on 1 September 2023 are: plastic pizza saver, plastic-stemmed cotton buds, single-use plastic bowls and
single-use plastic plates with exemptions for medical, dental and care facilities.
Guidelines for assessing prohibited plastic products:
In accordance with the Objects of the EP Act (Section 10), the EPA requires that stockpiling is conducted in an appropriate manner, not only to prevent or minimise the risk of harm to human health and the environment, but also to support a strong market for recovered resources by circulating materials through the waste management process.
The Guideline for stockpile management has requirements for the management of potential risks associated with stockpiling and storage of materials (ie waste or other matter).
Key concepts for appropriate stockpile management
- Storage should be temporary and for a specific purpose.
- Stockpiling should only occur for materials that have an immediate and genuine market or fate;
- Materials cannot be stockpiled in hope there will become a market for them.
- Stockpiling should be conducted with materials flow and site capacity in mind. As such there should not be continual growth but instead a systematic flow of materials input, processing, output, storage and removal.
- Waste must be managed to prevent harm to the environment and human health.
Stockpiling may be considered disposal. The Environment Protection (Waste to Resources) Policy 2010 (W2R EPP) contains requirements of how waste must be disposed and penalties for illegal dumping.
Australian Packaging Covenant and Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation
The Australian Packaging Covenant is a voluntary initiative negotiated by industry and agreed to by all levels of government. It is aimed at reducing the environmental effects of packaging. Companies that have signed the covenant prepare and implement action plans to take responsibility for the environmental impact and the ultimate disposal of their packaging.
As part of a co-regulatory agreement with all Australian Governments, the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) has been charged with administering the Covenant and informing businesses of their packaging related obligations including the options available for compliance with the NEPM.
National Environment Protection (Used Packaging Materials) Measure 2011
The Commonwealth National Environment Protection Council Act 1994, and complementary State and Territory legislation allow the National Environment Protection Council to make National Environment Protection Measures (NEPMs). NEPMs are a special set of national objectives designed to assist in protecting or managing particular aspects of the environment.
The goal of the National Environment Protection (Used Packaging Materials) Measure 2011 (UPM NEPM) is to reduce 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 Covenant and by assisting the assessment of the performance of the Covenant.
Compulsory reporting for councils
The UPM NEPM requires councils that provide kerbside recycling facilities for community use to complete a kerbside recycling report annually.
Participating jurisdictions are required to seek reports from each local government council in which a kerbside recycling collection service or other municipal materials recovery system is provided, for each financial year.
Reports on Local Government Data for South Australia:
Used packaging materials environment protection policy
To ensure that covenant signatories are not disadvantaged in the marketplace and to encourage participation, the Covenant framework includes a regulatory instrument, the UPM NEPM. In SA the regulatory instrument is the Environment Protection (Used Packaging Materials) Policy 2012.
Useful information for SA businesses
A joint APCO and EPA webinar was held on 10 November 2020, Reducing the environmental impacts of packaging in South Australia:
Video # 1: APCO/SA EPA webinar
Video # 2: Business obligations under the National Environment Protection (Used Packaging Materials) Measure 2012
Video # 3: APCO
Waste derived materials
Standards and specifications under clause 4 of the Environment Protection (Waste to Resources) Policy 2010, specify how and when certain materials can be reused and cease to be considered waste.
These also ensure that reuse of materials, such as soil or fill, is safe and does not present a risk to human health or the environment.
It is important that any applicable standard or specification is followed, otherwise the material may be considered to be waste and any use of that material may constitute illegal dumping.
Standards and specifications
- Waste-derived materials: Guiding principles for determining approval processes and product standards
- Current criteria for the classification of waste including Industrial and Commercial Waste (Listed) and Waste Soil
Waste derived fill
Refuse derived fuel
Waste derived soil enhancer
- Standard for the production and use of Waste Derived Soil Enhancer (WDSE)
- Waste Derived Soil Enhancer (WDSE) brochure
Waste derived fill (SPACE)
Waste management plans
Wastewater lagoons are important components in the operation of municipal wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), community wastewater management systems or CWMS (formerly septic tank effluent disposal schemes), food and agricultural processing, animal husbandry, composting and landfill activities.
Unlawful disposal includes:
- Disposal to an unlicensed waste depot.
- Disposal of a waste type to a council-provided bin not permitted by council for disposal.
- Disposal to private land without the land owner’s permissions, or in a manner that results in site contamination, environmental nuisance, or environment harm to surface or underground waters.
Penalties of up to $250,000 for unlawful disposal of waste, including illegal dumping or unauthorised stockpiling.
There are significant penalties for those caught illegally dumping waste. For individuals, penalties can be as high as $500,000 or four years imprisonment. For a corporate body the penalty can be as high as $2 million.
The EPA has responsibility for the illegal dumping of commercial quantities of industrial and demolition waste and hazardous wastes. You can report illegal dumping or illegal activity with the transport or receiving of waste to the EPA in the following ways:
- Telephone: (08) 8204 2004 or 1800 623 445 (non-metropolitan callers)
- Fax: (08) 8124 4670
Kerbside rubbish and litter remains the responsibility of local government and should be reported to the council.