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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. From 1 July 2019, e-waste will be banned from landfill in Victoria. The number of e-waste reprocessors is predicted to grow following the ban’s introduction. More information about the ban can be found in the Waste Management Policy (E-waste) and 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. The number of e-waste reprocessors is predicted to grow following the ban’s introduction.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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).
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.
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: email@example.com.
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
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 17 Jun 2019