Setting and reviewing standards

Changes to waste Regulations – beneficial reuse and waste codes

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The Environment Protection (Industrial Waste Resource) Regulations 2009 (the Regulations; Victorian Legislation and Parliamentary Documents) guide the sustainable management of prescribed industrial waste (PIW) in Victoria.

On 22 November 2016 regulatory amendments were made by the Governor in Council as the Environment Protection (Industrial Waste Resource) Amendment Regulations 2016. The amended Regulations take effect from 7 December 2016.

Summary of amendments to the Regulations

The amendments to the Regulations clarify the beneficial reuse provisions and embed the waste codes in the Regulations.

Beneficial reuse

Beneficial reuse tools are designed to promote industrial ecology – where the waste of one business becomes the raw material for another. Beneficial reuse tools were introduced to support cases where waste can be reused as a raw material or as input to an industrial or commercial process. Direct beneficial reuse (DBR) refers to reuse without prior treatment and does not require EPA approval. Secondary beneficial reuse (SBR) involves treatment or processing before reuse and does require EPA approval.

To clarify when the tools are available, two principles have been included in a definition of beneficial reuse:

  • similar hazardous properties
  • no additional environmental risk management required.

Part 5 of the Regulations sets out the process for applying for SBR approval, including the information an applicant must submit to EPA to support the proposed SBR. It also sets out the approval process and the conditions that EPA may impose. Minor amendments have been made to the information requirements and authorisation conditions, to clarify the requirements, ensure consistent terminology and match up with the current authorisation process in practice.

The amendments to the Regulations aim to give industry more clarity and increase the correct use of beneficial reuse tools. For more information see Reuse of PIW – direct and secondary beneficial reuse (publication 1641).

Including the waste codes in the Regulations

Previously, the technical codes used to describe waste being transported were only listed in EPA’s Waste codes (publication IWRG822). The waste codes are now integrated into the Regulations in Schedule 3. Minor updates have occurred to the waste codes, for greater clarity and consistency. 

Definitions of the codes and terminology used in waste transport certificates have also been included in the Regulations. 

We have updated Waste codes to reflect the amendments to the Regulations and to add a new code for thermal treatment for removing contaminants.

Public consultation on the Regulations

Formal public consultation on the proposed regulatory amendments ran until mid-May 2016. Six written submissions were received from a range of stakeholders, including industry, private consultants and statutory authorities. We also received verbal feedback from some stakeholders who did not lodge a written submission.

Comments received and EPA’s responses

The table below sets out the key themes from the public submissions received and EPA’s responses to them.

Summary of comment EPA response
Greater clarity is required in the beneficial reuse guideline, including clear examples. The beneficial reuse guideline was amended to address this.
Greater transparency is needed for secondary beneficial reuse approvals. Internal EPA process will change to include publication of all approvals on the EPA website.
Concerns expressed that listing dangerous goods information in the Regulations would necessitate strict adherence when filling in these details in waste transport certificates. It was identified that, in some limited circumstances, discretion in selecting the correct information is required, otherwise there could be a safety risk to the community and emergency services in the event of an accident involving a vehicle carrying PIW. To address the potential safety risk identified, only the waste codes (and not the associated information of UN number, packing group and class details, nor the other technical codes) were included in the amending Regulations.
A number of issues relating to PIW were raised that were outside the scope of the review. These issues have been noted and will be considered during the review of the Regulations prior to their expiry in 2019.

Page last updated on 31 Jul 2017