Beneficial reuse update

28 April 2016

Changes to the Environment Protection (Industrial Waste Resource) Regulations 2009 (Regulations) are set to affect both the beneficial waste reuse and the waste transport certificate requirements.

Beneficial reuse

“Beneficial reuse” refers to the reuse of industrial waste as a ‘product’ or material in an industrial or commercial activity. Direct beneficial reuse (DBR) refers to the reuse of a product or material without prior treatment or reprocessing, and secondary beneficial reuse (SBR) is the use of a product after it has been treated or reprocessed. The Regulations seek to eliminate the risk to both the environment and human health from beneficial reuse activities.

The proposed amendments to the Regulations are designed to improve understanding of the tools available for beneficial reuse. They seek to reduce and streamline the regulatory controls and clarify understanding of the types of waste that can be reused in an industrial or commercial process.

The proposed changes will:

  1. Introduce a definition of DBR and SBR; and
  2. Amend the application and approval process for SBR in Part 5 of the Regulations.

Under the proposed definition of beneficial reuse, the appropriate types of waste for DBR and SBR include those which:

  1. Have one or more similar hazardous properties to the input of the raw material that it is intended to replace; and
  2. Do not require additional controls to manage the risks of use in an industrial or commercial process.

The EPA is also proposing changes to the information requirements for SBR notifications and conditions. The key changes to the information required in the SBR notification includes:

  • A description of the SBR process and evidence that  the material fits within the proposed definition;
  • Details of the physical form of the material before and after treatment/reprocessing;
  • A description of the industry, names and addresses of the producers of the industrial waste, as well as the premises from which the material originates, will be treated/reprocessed and used in a commercial, trade or industrial activity; and
  • Any recognised specification standards for the material following its beneficial reuse.

Finally, changes will allow the EPA to place conditions on the persons, premises and/or industries that are permitted to receive material for treatment/reprocessing in SBR.

The EPA has also released a draft guideline on beneficial reuse to provide greater clarity to industry and to increase the correct use of beneficial reuse tools.

Waste transport certificate

The EPA’s proposed amendments will also affect the information that industrial waste producers, transporters and receivers are required to include in waste transport certificates.

An updated list of waste and other technical codes will be included in the Regulations through the introduction of a new schedule. Schedule 3A will include four tables containing an updated list of waste and other technical codes that must be included in all waste transport certificates.

Readers should note that although much of this information was previously contained in EPA Victoria Publication IWRG822.2, the changes will introduce a new treatment code for thermal treatment to remove contaminants.

Public submissions

The EPA have made the complete list of amendments available on their website (click here to view) and are currently inviting submissions in relation to the revisions. The deadline for making a submission is 12 May 2016.

Should you wish to comment on any part of the proposed amendments we would be pleased to assist you in drafting a submission.

Summary advice 
  • Producers of waste should recognise its commodity value by understanding the types of waste that can be beneficially reused in a commercial or industrial process under the new definitions; and
  • Producers, transporters and receivers of waste should note the changes to the information requirements for waste transport certificates.

This article was written by Meredith Gibbs, Partner and Ben Weintraub, Trainee Solicitor.

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