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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.
New legal requirements for reprocessing e-waste in Victoria
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.
In 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
- 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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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’s Bunding guideline (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:
||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.
||You must immediately notify EPA of non-compliance with any condition of this licence by calling 1300 EPA VIC, sending an email to email@example.com, or using the EPA Interaction Portal.
||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 (publication 1320.3, released June 2011).
||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.
||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
||You must ensure that odours offensive to the senses of human beings are not discharged, emitted or released beyond the boundaries of the premises.
||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.
||You must ensure that nuisance dust and/or nuisance airborne particles are not discharged or emitted beyond the boundaries of the premises.
||You must not store more than [quantity and units (cubic metres OR tonnes for solid wastes)] of waste on the premises at any time
||You must ensure that waste does not burn at the premises.
|Discharges to water
||You must ensure that surface water discharged from the premises is not contaminated with waste.
|Discharges to land
||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 firstname.lastname@example.org
For general information or to report illegal dumping of e-waste please contact:
GPO Box 4395
Melbourne, Victoria 3001
Phone: 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC)