Standards, compliance and planning

Prescribed industrial waste classifications


EPA issues classifications for prescribed industrial wastes (PIW), for both manufacturing waste and contaminated soil, in accordance with clause 11 of the Environment Protection (Industrial Waste Resource) Regulations 2009. Classifications made prior to July 2009 under clause 11(1) of the Industrial Waste Management Policy (Prescribed Industrial Waste) remain in effect until they expire or are revoked by the EPA.

Classifications may be grouped into the following categories:

  • classifications for reuse (opportunities for reuse) e.g. used oil filters, large containers, grease interceptor trap waste
  • classifications for disposal may be issued to industry-wide waste streams or to an individual waste stream:
    • general classification (industry-wide waste streams) e.g. ceramic based fibres, contaminated absorbent materials
    • specific classification (individual waste streams) e.g. industry specific filter cake, contaminated soil stockpiles, treatment plant residue.

Classifications for reuse

Classifications that ban waste streams from landfill are issued when alternative reuse or recycling options are identified. This results in higher hierarchy management of many PIWs that have previously been taken to landfill for disposal. For example, this might enable the energy to be recovered from waste streams, turning what was once deemed a waste into a recoverable, re-useable and/or valuable resource.

Currently these classifications include: architectural and decorative paint; industrial transformers; grease interceptor trap waste; used oil filters; large containers; and soils contaminated with organic compounds.

Architectural and decorative paint

This classification (PDF 52KB) applies to architectural and decorative paints from trade sources. It was developed to reduce the regulatory burden associated with transport and temporary storage at collections sites operating under the National Paint Product Stewardship Scheme. Published on page 594 of Government Gazette G14 (PDF 1.68MB, Victoria Government Gazette).

The National Paint Product Stewardship, Paintback, is an initiative of the paint industry in partnership with government to improve the management of end-of-life waste architectural and decorative paints. For more information on the scheme go to Paint stewardship on the Sustainability Victoria website or see the Paintback website.

Unprocessed used cooking fats and oils

This classification (PDF 114KB) for unprocessed used cooking fats and oils was developed to reduce the regulatory burden for industries recovering resources. As liquid wastes these fats and oils are Category A prescribed industrial waste (PIW) under the Environment Protection (Industrial Waste Resource) Regulations 2009. This classification recognises unprocessed used cooking fats and oils as a non-PIW, provided appropriate measures are in place to prevent pollution to the environment. EPA created this classification based on advice and data from existing facilities and experts. Published on page 2029 of Government Gazette G37 (PDF 1.6MB, Victoria Government Gazette).

See Unprocessed used cooking fats and oils classification for additional guidance and helpful links.

Classification for end-of-life industrial transformers containing PCB-free oil

End-of-life industrial transformers containing oil with a PCB concentration of less than 2 mg/kg (PCB-free oil), declared as waste by the waste generator (‘waste’) and having been managed in accordance with the conditions of this classification, are classified as non-prescribed industrial waste. For further details, refer to the Transformer classification (PDF 141KB) published in Government Gazette S432 (PDF 422KB, Victoria Government Gazette).

Classification for grease interceptor trap waste

Retail food businesses such as restaurants and fast food outlets use grease traps to capture food, grease and solids before discharging wastewater to sewer. The residual waste that is captured is called grease interceptor trap waste and is one of the highest volume PIW streams in Victoria. It is estimated that the landfill ban diverts more than 5000 tonnes of this waste from disposal to reuse and recycling options, such as composting and grease recovery, ensuring this waste is recognised as a valuable resource.

The Industrial waste resource guideline 4.3 Grease interceptor trap waste explains the requirements for waste generators, transporters and facilities that receive grease interceptor trap waste and how EPA will implement the classification.

Classification for used oil filters

Used oil filters are generated mainly by automotive workshops from servicing vehicles. This classification mandates that used oil filters must be recycled to recover valuable metal and oil resources.

The Industrial waste resource guideline 4.3 Oil filters explains the requirements for waste generators, transporters and facilities that receive used oil filters and how EPA will implement the classification.

Classification for large containers

EPA has classified rigid steel and plastic containers with an original volume greater than or equal to 200 litres to be reused or recycled to recover valuable metal and plastic resources. It is estimated that up to 2000 tonnes of containers will be diverted from landfill to reuse and recycling options, ensuring the recovery of resources and reducing waste volumes disposed to landfill.

The Industrial waste resource guideline 4.3 Large containers with PIW explains the requirements of the classification for waste generators, transporters and facilities that receive large containers and how EPA will implement the classification.

Classifications for contaminated soil

Classification of designated organic contaminated soils

EPA has classified soils containing the below contaminants as wastes with the potential for reuse, recycling, recovery of energy and treatment:

  • monocyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
  • total petroleum hydrocarbons
  • polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
  • organochlorine compounds.

The Classification for contaminated soil (publication 878) explains the requirements of the classification for waste generators, transporters and facilities that receive soils contaminated with organic compounds. The classification was published in Government Gazette No. G44 (PDF 461KB, Victoria Government Gazette), p.27 2002.

Producers and treaters of contaminated soils are required to categorise the soil into Category A, B, C or clean fill to determine what management options are available. Soil hazard categorisation and management (publication IWRG621) offers guidance how to categorise contaminated soil.

In some instances it may be practicable and environmentally beneficial to reuse or treat soil onsite. Any such activities must be undertaken in accordance with the general provisions of the policy and any site specific directions and controls established by EPA.

References to Classification No. 2011/018, which outlined management options for contaminated soil, have been removed. The Supreme Court of Victoria determined this classification to be invalid (Maddingley Brown Coal Pty Ltd v Environment Protection Authority [2013] VSC 582). EPA is currently working on an alternative approach to clarify the law in relation to the reuse of contaminated soil.

Classifications for disposal

General classifications

These general classifications may be used by anyone wanting to dispose of these types of waste, provided they meet the conditions of the classification. All classifications are published in the Government Gazette and can be easily downloaded from the website using the links below.

  • Drilling mud (PDF 74KB). This classification for drilling mud was developed to reduce regulatory burden where there is a low risk to the environment. As liquid waste, drilling mud is a Category A prescribed industrial waste (PIW) under the Environment Protection (Industrial Waste Resource) Regulations 2009. This classification recognises low-risk drilling muds as a non-PIW, provided appropriate measures are in place to prevent pollution to the environment. EPA created this classification based on advice and data from existing facilities and experts. Published on page 2026 of Government Gazette G37 (PDF 1.6MB, Victoria Government Gazette).
    See Drilling mud classification for additional guidance and helpful links.
  • Firefighting dry chemical powders (DCP) (PDF 56KB). This classification is for firefighting dry chemical powders (DCP) listed in Table 1 of this classification. Firefighting DCP becomes prescribed industrial waste when removed from fire extinguishers during routine refill and maintenance; and/or mixtures of firefighting DCP formulations. Firefighting DCP that have been managed in accordance with the conditions of this classification are classified as Category C prescribed industrial waste. Published in Government Gazette S262 (PDF 290KB, Victoria Government Gazette).
  • Ceramic-based fibres (PDF 42KB) Category C. Ceramic-based fibres with physico-chemical characteristics similar to those of asbestos are a prescribed industrial waste, and when destined for landfill must be packaged in accordance with the Industrial waste resource guideline 6.1 Asbestos transport and disposal. Once appropriately packaged, these wastes are classified as Category C wastes. Published in Government Gazette G24 (PDF 573KB, Victoria Government Gazette).
  • Absorbent materials (PDF 45KB) Category C. Significant amounts of absorbent materials include; rags, wipes, booms, matting and spill control products generated as a result of maintenance, production or process activities and/or emergency response are to be managed as prescribed industrial waste in accordance with this classification. The use of absorbent materials should be avoided through prevention measures, other means of cleaning or recycled or sent for energy recovery where possible.
    This classification applies to absorbent materials contaminated with solvent and oil (C6-C36 petroleum hydrocarbons, synthetic and natural oils), inks, dyes, pigments, paints, lacquers and varnish and are classified as Category C wastes if they are free of liquid and do not display any hazard characteristics, in particular, are not flammable.
    Absorbent materials with other contaminants not listed above must be assessed using EPA publication 996 Guidelines for hazard classification of solid prescribed industrial wastes, which has been replaced by the Industrial waste resource guideline 6.3 Solid industrial waste hazard categorisation and management. Published in Government Gazette G24 (PDF 573KB, Victoria Government Gazette).
  • Packaging wastes (PDF 49KB) Category C. Packaging wastes may include small containers, bulk bags, internal liners with solid PIW residues (i.e. trace amounts of the original product remaining in packaging after emptying).
    This classification does not apply to packaging where the quantity of PIW is greater than a residue. These wastes must be assessed to determine the hazard category of the waste itself, rather than the packaging using the Industrial waste resource guideline 6.3 Solid industrial waste hazard categorisation and management.
    EPA has banned large steel or plastic containers contaminated with prescribed industrial waste from landfill and mandated that these wastes must be reused or recycled. See the Industrial waste resource guideline 4.3 Large Containers with PIW. Published in Government Gazette G24 (PDF 573KB, Victoria Government Gazette).
  • Arsenic and arsenic compounds contained in sand, rock and mine tailings from the City of Greater Bendigo municipality (PDF 52 KB). The classification applies to arsenic and arsenic compounds contained in sand, rock and mine tailings generated in the City of Greater Bendigo Municipality. Published in Government Gazette S51 (PDF 290KB, Victoria Government Gazette).

The following classifications have been revoked (effective 1 July 2009) as these values have been amended. Refer to the Industrial waste resource guideline 6.3 Solid industrial waste hazard categorisation and management.

  • Antimony and antimony compounds
  • Barium and barium compounds

The animal effluent and residues classification has also been revoked (effective 1 July 2009). Solid residues from animal effluent including abattoir effluent, poultry and fish processing waste is considered commercial food waste (provided the solid residues have not undergone any treatment or chemical addition), which is an industrial waste under the new Regulations.

Specific classifications (disposal)

A specific classification may be issued by the EPA to an individual company for their waste stream. This type of classification may be issued when it can be demonstrated that the contaminants are intrinsically or chemically immobilised or when the contaminants present in the waste are not specifically listed. Download selected classifications using the links below.

Page last updated on 22 Jul 2016