Standards, compliance and planning

E-waste reprocessing in Victoria


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Electronic waste (e-waste) as a waste stream is growing up to three times faster than general municipal waste in Australia. The Victorian Government has committed to banning e-waste from landfill in Victoria and the number of e-waste reprocessors is predicted to grow following the ban’s introduction. More about the ban can be found on E-waste in Victoria (Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning).

The valuable materials in e-waste can be recovered. E-waste reprocessors accept a diverse range of used electronic waste and use a variety of methods to recover these valuable materials. Both e-waste and processed e-waste materials must be handled and stored with due care in order to avoid leakage and the release of hazardous substances into air, water or soil.

EPA has introduced new legal requirements for the reprocessing of specified e-waste. These requirements will also assist in supporting legitimate and sustainable e-waste recycling opportunities in Victoria.

The information below is designed to help businesses that reprocess e-waste as part of their processing and/or recycling operations understand the new licensing requirements.

From 25 June 2017, Scheduled category A02 of the Scheduled Premises Regulations requires premises in Victoria with the capacity to reprocess more than 500 tonnes of specified e-waste per year to apply for an EPA works approval before they are built or modified and an EPA licence to operate. According to the regulations, specified electronic waste means waste rechargeable batteries, cathode ray tube monitors and televisions, flat panel monitors and televisions, information technology and telecommunications equipment, lighting and photovoltaic panels.

Existing businesses or sites with the capacity to reprocess more than 500 tonnes of specified e-waste per year have until 25 January 2018 to submit a full application for an EPA licence to continue their e-waste reprocessing operations.

The Environment Protection Act 1970 specifies penalties for breach of licence conditions, and for operating a site without a licence. The maximum penalty for operating without a licence is 2400 penalty units (approximately $350,000), with additional penalties for ongoing operations.

The burning and dumping of e-waste can be harmful to the environment and human health, and is an offence under the Environment Protection Act 1970 and local laws. EPA can issue pollution abatement notices and take further legal action to require the removal of waste and appropriate disposal.

E-waste reprocessors who have the capacity to reprocess 500 tonnes or less of specified e-waste or any amount of other e-waste that is neither prescribed industrial waste or specified e-waste are still required to prevent the release of hazardous substances into air, water or soil under the Environment Protection Act 1970 but are not required to gain a licence. See EPA’s compliance and enforcement policy for more detail.

How do I apply for an EPA licence if I have an existing business?

For existing businesses, a completed Approvals proposal pathway form and supporting information must be provided to EPA.

This should be emailed to approvals.applications@epa.vic.gov.au.

Please have a conversation with someone from EPA Licensing Team before submitting your e-waste reprocessing (A02) licence application. Contact EPA’s Licensing Team on 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC) or email approvals.applications@epa.vic.gov.au.

Once we have received a complete application please allow approximately 60 days for EPA to process your application. How long this takes will depend on whether all the necessary supporting information has been provided, the complexity of your operations and whether clarification or further information is required.

What supporting information will I need to submit as part of my licence application?

For operating e-waste reprocessors that apply for a licence before 25 January 2018, EPA’s Works approval application guideline (publication 1658) outlines the supporting information you may need to submit with your licence application form under the transitional period - further information can be found in EPA's works approval assessment process (publication 1657) and Selected scheduled premises prompt sheets (publication 1659). As a guide, the checklist can help determine which segments of environmental information you may need to provide. To confirm supporting information, please contact EPA’s Licensing Team on 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC) or email approvals.applications@epa.vic.gov.au.

For example, the Section on Waste handling and treatment premises (A01, A02, A07, A08, A09 and glass reprocessors (H05)) in the works approval application guideline details required information such as:

  • the types of industrial waste
  • details of the industrial waste sources
  • details of the volumes of industrial waste received
  • package types when wastes are received
  • explanation of record-keeping and procedures followed for management of wastes
  • description of how industrial waste are currently loaded and unloaded
  • explanation of how each type of waste is stored including storage area and its design: capacity, covered/enclosed, site layout and bunding; compliance with EPA publication 347; and type of waste container. (For site layout, EPA requires an up to date premises plan according to the guidelines for preparing a premises plan.)
  • explanation of air emission controls mechanisms, including ventilation air, fugitive and point source emissions, for all emission indicators, as specified in SEPP (AQM) (for example, odour)

There is no licence application fee (though an annual fee is payable to EPA for the duration of the licence based on the Environment Protection (Fees) Regulations).

Licence conditions for e-waste reprocessors

If you’ve been successful in applying for an EPA licence to reprocess e-waste, your licence will feature a number of conditions. Please note that, following licensing, your site will be inspected on a regular basis, and you will also be required to submit an annual performance statement based on your licence conditions. It may be useful to reflect on the conditions outlined below and consider whether your premises would need additional controls in place to meet these conditions and the cost of these controls. More information on specific licence conditions is available in the Licence management guideline (publication 1322) and information on  EPA's licences and approvals page. This guideline is designed to assist you to understand and manage your licence.

Licence conditions for e-waste reprocessors may include the following:

General conditions
LI_G1 You must ensure that waste is not discharged, emitted or deposited beyond the boundaries of the premises except in accordance with this licence or under the Act.
LI_G2 You must immediately notify EPA of non-compliance with any condition of this licence by calling 1300 EPA VIC, sending an email to contact@epa.vic.gov.au, or using the EPA Interaction Portal.
LI_G3 By 30 September each year you must submit an annual performance statement to EPA for the previous financial year in accordance with the Annual Performance Statement Guidelines (EPA Publication 1320.3, released June 2011).
LI_G4 Documents and monitoring records used for preparation of the annual performance statement must be retained for five years from the date of each statement, and be able to be immediately produced upon request by an officer of the Authority.
LI_G5 You must establish and implement a risk based monitoring program that enables you and EPA to determine compliance with each condition of this licence.  The monitoring program must comply with the requirements of the monitoring guidelines
Amenity conditions
LI_A1 You must ensure that odours offensive to the senses of human beings are not discharged, emitted or released beyond the boundaries of the premises.
LI_A2 You must ensure that there are no emissions of noise and/or vibrations from the premises which are detrimental to either of the following: a) the environment in the area around the premises; and b) the wellbeing of persons and/or their property in the area around the premises.
LI_A3 You must ensure that nuisance dust and/or nuisance airborne particles are not discharged or emitted beyond the boundaries of the premises.
Waste management
LI_WM1 You must not store more than [quantity and units (cubic metres OR tonnes for solid wastes)] of waste on the premises at any time
LI_WM4 You must ensure that waste does not burn at the premises.
Discharges to water
LI_DW1 You must ensure that surface water discharged from the premises is not contaminated with waste.
Discharges to land
LI_DL1 You must not contaminate land or groundwater.

For more information relating to the e-waste reprocessing (A02) licence application process, contact EPA’s Licensing Team on 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC) or email approvals.applications@epa.vic.gov.au

Further information

For general information or to report illegal dumping of e-waste please contact:

EPA Victoria
GPO Box 4395
Melbourne, Victoria 3001

Phone: 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC)
Email: contact@epa.vic.gov.au

 

Q&A on e-waste reprocessing in Victoria + Expand all Collapse all

  • What is specified e-waste?

    Under Regulation 5 of the Environment Protection (Scheduled Premises) Regulations 2017, ‘specified electronic waste’ means waste rechargeable batteries, cathode ray tube monitors and televisions, flat panel monitors and televisions, information technology and telecommunications equipment, lighting and photovoltaic panels. Premises with the capacity to reprocess more than 500 tonnes of specified electronic waste per year are scheduled premises.

  • I reprocess e-waste. What should I do and what EPA approvals do I need?

    E-waste must be reprocessed and stored in a way that minimises risk and hazards to human health and the environment. EPA recommends that a management plan for the reprocessing of e-waste be developed and implemented to ensure that excessive amounts of e-waste are not accumulated.

    Existing businesses

    Businesses already reprocessing more than 500 tonnes of specified electronic waste per year have until 25 January 2018 to submit a full application to EPA Victoria for a licence to continue their e-waste reprocessing operations. A completed Approvals proposal pathway form and supporting information must be provided to EPA as part of your licence application. The supporting information requirements are informed by those outlined in EPA's Works Approval Guidelines. 

    New businesses

    Businesses that do not currently reprocess e-waste but that are proposing to reprocess more than 500 tonnes of specified e-waste after 25 June 2017 will need to apply to EPA Victoria for a works approval (to establish the site), prior to applying for a licence (to operate). The works approval guidelines outline the assessment process and how to prepare your application. 

    You may need to also apply for a works approval and licence for PIW Management (A01) if you are planning to receive crushed e-waste. Prescribed industrial waste is determined in accordance with the Environment Protection (Industrial Waste Resource) Regulations 2009. For more information, contact EPA’s Licensing Team on 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC).

  • What if I don't apply for a licence?

    The maximum penalty for operating without a licence is 2400 penalty units (approximately $350,000), with additional penalties for ongoing operations. The Environment Protection Act 1970 specifies penalties for operating a site without a licence, and for breach of licence conditions. Sites with the capacity to reprocess more than 500 tonnes of specified e-waste per year have until 25 January 2018 to apply for an EPA licence to continue their glass reprocessing operations. For more information on the licence application process, contact EPA’s Licensing Team on 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC).

  • What are the new Regulations?

    The objective of the Environment Protection (Scheduled Premises) Regulations 2017 is to minimise the environmental and public health impacts (particularly those as a result of fugitive emissions) from inappropriate reprocessing of e-waste in Victoria. They provide an ongoing legislative basis for the management of risks associated with the reprocessing of e-waste, such as dust; noise; stockpiling and fire.

    The regulatory impact statement found that the preferred option was to make premises with the capacity to reprocess more than 500 tonnes of specified e-waste per year subject to EPA works approval and licensing requirements.

    EPA will be responsible for administration and enforcement of the proposed Regulations, as part of its works approval and licensing regime, and more broadly as part of its focus on the illegal dumping of wastes.

    The Regulations take effect on 25 June 2017. Larger-scale e-waste reprocessing facilities have a transitional period of seven months – until 25 January 2018 – to apply for an EPA licence.

  • Do I need to be certified with AS/NZS 5377?

    The Environment Protection (Scheduled Premises) Regulations 2017 do not require e-waste reprocessors (A02) to be certified under AS/NZS 5377. Applicants that are accredited are welcome to submit this information with their application.

    However, all e-waste reprocessors should please be aware that the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning has given notice that they are preparing a new waste management policy (DELWP) that describes how e-waste must be managed in Victoria.

    For more information, contact the Waste and Resource Recovery team at the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning via their email: wastepolicy@delwp.vic.gov.au.

  • What is the problem with e-waste?

    The poor management of e-waste poses a hazard to the Victorian community and environment.

    The primary risks from e-waste reprocessing are the impacts of fugitive air emissions and dust on human health and the environment. Whether whole e-waste; residual wastes; materials intended for further recycling; or products of use as a raw material in another process, all may pose a significant risk to the environment. Risky e-waste inventory management practices (for example, stockpiling) may result in soil contamination and increase the likelihood of fire. As some persistent organic pollutants, dioxins and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are released as combustion by-products of e-waste, the consequences of fires at e-waste reprocessing facilities would be substantial

  • What should members of the public do if they’re concerned about a site that is or may be storing lots of e-waste?

    If you are unsure about stockpiling operations of a site, you can report it to EPA on 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC). The dumping of e-waste is also an offence under the Environment Protection Act 1970, and can attract significant penalties.

Page last updated on 27 Jun 2017