Transporting waste can be risky. If you transport waste you must meet the general environmental duty (GED). This means taking reasonably practicable steps to minimise risks of harm to human health and the environment.

When transporting waste, reasonably practicable steps include:

  • safely containing waste
  • carrying only compatible wastes on the same vehicle
  • planning ahead to deal with possible spills
  • keeping spill kits on trucks and training drivers to use them

Waste duties for transporters

You must meet your waste duties when transporting waste. There are additional duties depending on if you’re transporting industrial waste, priority waste or reportable priority waste.

Industrial waste duties

You must transport industrial waste to a lawful place.

Priority waste duties

You must take reasonable steps to safely contain and isolate priority waste for resource recovery, including when transporting waste. It should be clearly labelled to identify the waste type and risks to human health and the environment.

If transporting multiple loads of waste you must not mix, blend, or dilute priority waste in a way which changes the waste classification. You can only do this if EPA issues a designation.

You also have a duty to investigate alternatives to landfill

Reportable priority waste

You must track the movement of reportable priority waste (transactions). For example, when the waste changes hands from producer to transporter, or from transporter to receiver.

You need a permission to transport reportable priority waste (transport).

These requirements don’t apply if the net load is:

  • less than 50 litres
  • transported for no fee or reward.

Guidance for drivers

Drivers play an important role in meeting the GED and preventing harm to human health and the environment. If you’re a driver, you must complete training to ensure you understand how to:

  • safely handle waste you carry
  • meet the waste duties.

Speak to your employer about training available to you.

Transporting dangerous goods

Some waste is classed as dangerous goods under appendix A of the Waste Classification Assessment Protocol (EPA publication 1827).

When transporting dangerous goods you must meet the requirements of the Dangerous Goods (Transport by Road or Rail) Regulations 2018 in relation to:

  • signs on your vehicle
  • stowing, loading and restraining loads
  • documents about the waste on board.

Read next

Permit to transport prescribed industrial waste

Reviewed 31 March 2021