It’s important to understand your business’s activities and how these might present pollution and waste hazards that could harm: 

  • human health
  • the environment.

Common activities which can present hazards include:

  • material storage and handling
  • detergent use
  • landscaping
  • grinding.
Steps in controlling hazards and risks infographic

Risk activity categories

Low-risk activities

Businesses are considered to pose low risk to human health and the environment if:

  • they don’t have polluting activities
  • only produce minimal domestic-type wastes that go in normal bins.

For most businesses, complying with environmental laws means ensuring:

  • appropriate waste removal
  • clean sites
  • keeping rubbish and chemicals out of stormwater drains.

These businesses are unlikely to have new requirements under the new laws.

Businesses with low-risk activities may include:

  • retail and convenience stores
  • offices
  • cafes
  • bars
  • pharmacies.

Medium to high-risk activities

Medium to high-risk activities can include:

  • handling and storing liquids that can leak into stormwater
  • disposing of chemicals that can contaminate soil, groundwater, surface water and air
  • receiving and treating waste
  • discharge of industrial waste to air, water and land.

Businesses with medium to high-risk activities may include:

  • dry cleaners
  • petrol stations
  • oil refineries
  • businesses that store or reprocess combustible recyclable and waste materials.
Levels of risk infographic

How to manage risk

Risks are present in all business activities. To comply with the general environment duty (GED), you must manage any activities that pose a risk to human health and the environment from pollution and waste.

It’s your responsibility to understand how to manage risks. Read more about how to manage:

Read more about complying with the new laws

How transition to the new Act will work

Tools to support compliance

Have your say on new environmental laws 

Reviewed 28 October 2019