Standards, compliance and planning

Glass reprocessing in Victoria


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Reprocessing of glass generally refers to the crushing or grinding of waste glass from bottles, windows and other sources. It can result in a range of offsite impacts including particle emissions and odour from the processing and storage of glass fines. Glass fines can also have undesirable impacts on surface waters if allowed to enter waterways.

EPA has introduced new legal requirements for the reprocessing of glass to assist in supporting legitimate and sustainable glass recycling opportunities in Victoria.

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

From 25 June 2017, Scheduled category H05 of the Scheduled Premises Regulations requires premises in Victoria with the capacity to reprocess more than 10,000 tonnes of glass waste per year to apply for an EPA works approval before they are built or modified and an EPA licence to operate. In the regulations, reprocess means to change the physical structure or properties of a waste material to allow for further use.

Existing businesses or sites with the capacity to reprocess more than 10,000 tonnes of glass waste per year have until 25 January 2018 to submit a full application for an EPA licence to continue their glass 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 dumping of glass 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.

Glass reprocessors who have the capacity to reprocess 10,000 tonnes or less of glass 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's Licensing Team before submitting your glass reprocessing (H05) 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 glass 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 requires 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) 2012.

Licence conditions for glass reprocessors

 

 If you’ve been successful in applying for an EPA licence to reprocess glass 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 on EPA's licences and approvals page. This guideline is designed to assist you to understand and manage your licence.

Licence conditions for glass 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 glass reprocessing (H05) 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 glass please contact:

EPA Victoria
GPO Box 4395
Melbourne, Victoria 3001

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

 

Glass Reprocessing in Victoria + Expand all Collapse all

  • I reprocess glass - what should I do and what EPA approvals do I need?

    Glass 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 glass be developed and implemented to ensure that excessive amounts of glass are not accumulated.

    Existing businesses

    Businesses already reprocessing more than 10,000 tonnes of glass waste per year have until 25 January 2018 to submit a full apllication to EPA Victoria for a licence to continue their glass 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 glass waste but that are proposing to reprocess more than 10,000 tonnes of glass 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.

  • 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 10,000 tonnes of glass 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 glass in Victoria. They provide an ongoing legislative basis for the management of risks associated with the reprocessing of glass, such as dust; odour; noise; and stockpiling.   

    The regulatory impact statement found that the preferred option was to make premises with the capacity to reprocess more than 10,000 tonnes of glass 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 glass reprocessing facilities of affected premises have a transitional period of seven months – until 25 January 2018 – to apply for an EPA licence.

  • What is the problem with glass waste?

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

    The primary risks from glass reprocessing are the impacts of fugitive air emissions, dust and odour on human health and the environment. Crushed glass fines are normally considered a nuisance dust. If the aerodynamic size of the dust is less than 2.5 μm it can, as with any particle this size, penetrate the lungs and have negative health impacts.

    The ability to process larger volumes increases the potential for fugitive emissions and the ability to accumulate large amounts of glass fines that may require special management requirements. Impacts to surface water can also be of concern if larger amounts are released into waterways.

  • What should members of the public do if they are concerned about a site that is or may be storing lots of glass 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 glass is also an offence under the Environment Protection Act 1970, and can attract significant penalties.

Page last updated on 13 Nov 2017