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EPA developed the Classification for unprocessed used cooking fats and oils (PDF 114KB; the classification) to provide clarity for industry and reduce the regulatory burden associated with the management of unprocessed used cooking fats and oil where there is low risk to human health and the environment.
As a liquid waste, unprocessed used cooking fats and oils are a category A prescribed industrial waste (PIW) under the Environment Protection (Industrial Waste Resource) Regulations 2009 (the IWR Regulations), requiring strict management conditions. Based on risks to human health and the environment, the classification recognises unprocessed used cooking fats and oils as a non-PIW, provided appropriate measures are in place to prevent pollution to the environment.
The classification sets the minimum conditions EPA expects of industry.
Implementation of the classification
Table 1 summarises materials and activities for which the Classification does and does not apply.
Table 1: Where does the classification apply?
|For these materials||When materials are|
|Classification does not apply||
When the classification does not apply, you must comply with all relevant requirements under the Environment Protection Act 1970 (the Act), the IWR Regulations and the Environment Protection (Scheduled Premises) Regulations 2017. This includes licensing, vehicle permitting and waste transport certificates requirements.
When the classification applies, you must comply with all management options in the classification and general environmental requirements under the Act.
Compliance and enforcement
If you do not meet the requirements of the classification, the waste will be considered as PIW and EPA may take compliance and enforcement action for managing PIW without necessary approvals. You must be able to demonstrate compliance to EPA through relevant records, systems and procedures.
When using this classification you must continue to comply with your EPA licence conditions (where applicable). If there is conflict with these requirements you should comply with your licence.
Using the classification you will also need to comply with general environmental requirements that apply to all industries under the Environment Protection Act and the relevant state environment protection policies (SEPPs). In particular, odour, noise and dust must not negatively impact the area surrounding your site. Relevant penalties or notices may be applied.
Management options under the classification
The gazetted classification should always be your primary reference. EPA has provided this further guidance to help you comply with the management options outlined in the classification. The management options are compulsory for anyone using the classification.
A copy of the classification (PDF 114KB) must be in any vehicle or site that accepts unprocessed used cooking fats and oils.
Response to comments on the draft classification
Table 2: Response to commentsProvide clarity on EPA’s expectation for bunding, particularly in relation to small operators.
|Summary of comments||EPA response|
|The terms ‘tallow’ and ‘used cooking oil’ are not consistent with how industry refers to the relevant wastes.
||This classification was amended to refer to ‘unprocessed used cooking fats and oils’.
|Provide clarity on EPA’s expectation for bunding, particularly in relation to small operators.||The classification continues to require that all activity occurs in accordance with EPA bunding guidelines. Smaller sites may consider the minor storage requirements in this guideline.|
|Transportation and vehicle requirements are not meaningful or clear.
||The transportation and vehicle requirement were simplified.|
|The limit of 90 days storage may make it difficult to fully comply with classification.
||The storage limit only applies to unprocessed material at consolidation premises and not the site of generation or reprocessing. This limit is intended to prevent stockpiling and ensure that materials are reused, recycled or used for biofuel production.
|Unintended contamination of used cooking fats and oils is not addressed.
||The classification was updated to require management that ensures prevention of contamination.
|Biosecurity issues are not addressed.
||The classification was updated to refer to requirements of the ruminant feed ban.
This page was copied from EPA's old website. It was last updated on 4 July 2017.
Unprocessed used cooking fats and oils classification in more detail
Bunding guidelines (publication 347 – superseded by publication 1698 Liquid storage and handling guidelines) provides relevant information on managing materials in a way that protects the environment. It also provides alternative controls for minor storage (less than approximately 1200L) requiring that:
- recovery of spilt material is possible
- they are undercover and on an impervious base
- they are away from stormwater drains and pits
- appropriate operational procedures are used
- absorbent material is on hand.
This includes ensuring drums or containers are tightly closed and fastened during transport to prevent spills or leakage from the vehicle. Any tanker, container or drum must not allow fats and oil to leak.
Waste producers are responsible for using an appropriate vehicle.
Waste receivers must not accept waste from an unsuitable vehicle.
Prevention of contamination is required, regardless of the intended use. For guidance please refer to ARA national standard for recycling of used cooking fats and oils intended for animal feeds 2008 (Australian Renderers Association):
- See Section 3 for guidance on used and recycled containers.
- See Section 5 for the preventing contamination during transport.
Victoria has an Order prohibiting the feeding of stock food containing restricted animal feed to ruminants (2005). Treated used cooking oil going into stock feed must comply with the Agriculture and Veterinary Chemicals (Control of Use) (Ruminant Feed) Regulations (2005) (the Ruminant Feed Regulations), which provide requirements for management, labelling and specifications.
The Chief Veterinary Officer has approved Specifications for tallow and used cooking oils under Regulation 11 of the Ruminant Feed Regulations, which:
- prescribe the methods for testing against limits in the Ruminant Feed Regulations
- require that collection, processing and packaging of used cooking oils occurs in accordance with parts 5, 6 and 7 of the ARA national standard for recycling of used cooking fats and oils intended for animal feeds 2008 (Australian Renderers Association).
This only applies to consolidation premises and not generator or reprocessing sites.
Either obtain a copy of the records when receiving used cooking oil or make your own records. Make sure that the records you keep include:
- name and address of waste producer
- transport date, quantity and vehicle registration
- date and quantity received.
Records must be kept for a minimum of two years.
Printed copies of the spill management plan must be kept on hand for quick reference during an incident. You must be also able to provide it to EPA on request.
In addition, EPA must be immediately notified of any incident or spill that is likely to have an offsite impact.
Reviewed 9 September 2021