What is changing and why

Changes to some licences and permits have happened and are happening to prepare for the Environment Protection Act 2017 (the Act). The Act took effect from 1 July 2021. It allows businesses to use Waste Tracker from 1 July 2021.

These changes involve industrial waste activities and associated waste codes. Some waste codes and waste descriptions in Waste Codes (publication IWRG822) have changed under the Act. See a full list of the waste codes in Schedule 5 – Waste Classification of the Environment Protection Regulations 2021 (the Regulations).

While some waste codes have gone, waste transported or received under those old codes are now under new waste codes. Other waste codes are being split into some more specific waste types. For example, A100 is being transitioned to A100, A110 and A130.

To find out how EPA has transitioned existing waste codes, see Waste code transition to Environment Protection Regulations 2021 (publication 1967).

Transitioning permits for transporting prescribed waste or prescribed industrial waste

Former permits to transport prescribed waste or prescribed industrial waste, section 53F of the Environment Protection Act 1970, are transitioning. This is if you do not have the waste codes B100, E100, G100 or R100 attached to your old permit. Here, your old permit will be transitioned to an A10b registration (Reportable priority waste (transport)—other) under the Regulations.

Changes to permissions for waste and resource recovery facilities operating before 1 July 2021

The Environment Protection Act 2017 (the Act) and Environment Protection Regulations 2021 (the Regulations) introduce environmental protections that mean you may need a permission. The general environmental duty (GED) is at the centre of the new Act and applies to all Victorians. A permission is an operating licence, permit or registrations. Permissions support the GED by providing measures to manage risks to human health and the environment.

Depending on the size of your A13 waste and resource recovery facility (WRRF) and the type of material you receive, you may now need a permission from EPA. If you don’t have a current operating licence or permit for your waste and resource recovery facility and your activity belongs to one of the following scales, you may need to apply for a permission. Changes to permissions in the waste and resource recovery sector (publication 1984) can help you work out if you need a permission.

Sites already undertaking an A13 WRRF activity as of 1 July 2021 must apply for a permit or operating licence before 1 October 2021 (or 2 January 2022 for registrations). If you do not apply for a permission by these deadlines, you may be breaking the law which could mean significant fines for individuals or businesses.

If you are developing a new WRRF activity, or your WRRF activity was not operating before 1 July 2021, you may need a development licence. EPA can provide advice about getting this licence. Complete a Permission Pathway form and email it to permissions@epa.vic.gov.au. Permissions proposal pathway guideline (publication 1995) has more information about using this form.

There are three scales of waste and resource recovery facilities

The permission that you may require is based on the  scale of your activities and the material you receive.

Large-scale activities will need an operating licence

A large waste and resource recovery activity includes receiving, storing or processing waste generated at another site, including specified combustible recyclable and waste material, if: 

  • 4,000 tonnes or more waste is received in any month, or
  • 10,000 m3 or more waste is stored on the site at any time.

You will need an operating licence for this.

Medium-scale activities will need a permit

A medium-sized activity includes receiving, storing or processing waste generated at another site, excluding combustible recyclable and waste material, if:

  • 4,000 tonnes or more waste is received in any month, or
  • 10,000 m3 or more waste is stored on the premises at any time.

Or, receiving, storing or processing waste generated at another site, including specified combustible recyclable and waste material, if:

  • less than 4,000 tonnes of waste are received in any month, and
  • between 5,000 m3 and 10,000 m3 of waste is stored on the premises at any time.

You will need a permit for this.

Small-scale activities will need a registration

A small-scale activity includes receiving, storing or processing waste generated at another site, including specified combustible recyclable and waste material if between 5 m3 and 5000 m3 of waste is stored on the site at any time.

You will need a registration for this.

How to prepare and apply for a permission for a waste and resource recovery facility

  1.  Check if you need a permission.
  2. Apply for your new permission to comply with the new environment protection laws, by signing up to our new EPA Portal.
  3. Check below for guidance on how to apply and what information to include in your application.

EPA provides additional guidance for A13a Large and A13b medium waste and resource recovery facilities.

Permission conditions for waste and resource recovery facilities

The conditions detail control measures as well as administrative and reporting requirements which you must comply with. Referring to them may help inform the risks and management controls you need to demonstrate in your application. You can review the conditions that may apply to your permission online before you apply.

When these changes happened

Section 472 of the Act allows the EPA to initiate changes to permissions that will transition under the Act.

Here’s the timeline and the process EPA took:

  • 1 March 2021 - email to all current (at that time) permission holders outlining the transition approach and timeline
  • 22 April 2021 - current (at that time) waste licence and permit holders received proposed notice of amendment
  • 1 July 2021 - current (at that time) waste licence and permit holders received final notices of amendment.

How we tracked

In March, EPA contacted all current licence and permit holders asking many of you to verify your waste codes. This is if you are transitioning to one of the following waste permissions:

  • licences transitioning to operating licences with the prescribed activity A01 (reportable priority waste management)
  • licences transitioning to operating licences with the prescribed activity A05a (landfills—excluding municipal landfills servicing <5000 people)
  • licences transitioning to operating licences with the prescribed activity A07a (organic waste processing—large)
  • licences transitioning to operating licences with the prescribed activity G05 (container washing)
  • waste transport permits transitioning to waste transport permits for the prescribed activity A10a (reportable priority waste (transport)—high risk)
  • waste transport permits transitioning to waste transport registrations for the prescribed activity A10b (reportable priority waste (transport)—other).

Licence and permit holders who then currently had waste codes attached to their permissions were sent a proposed notice of amendment on 22 April 2021. This proposed notice of amendment outlined the changes for these licences and permits from 1 July 2021.

After 1 July 2021, for any new industrial waste permissions or additional new waste codes, not currently attached to an existing permission, you’ll need to apply. This is the same situation if you’re adding new waste codes to your permission now. You can submit your application through the EPA portal.

Reviewing your proposed notice of amendment

If you have received a proposed notice of amendment, please review the following details to make sure your licence or permit is transitioned correctly:

  • the business that holds the permission (licence or permit) is correct
  • location of the activity is correct (only applicable to licence holders)
  • permission identification number is correct
  • new waste codes for your permission adequately replace the current ones.

What you need to do if something's inaccurate or incorrect

Inaccuracies in the transitioning of old waste codes to new waste codes may impact your ability to operate your business. Therefore, you should confirm that the waste codes in the proposed notice are correct. You should also advise EPA of any missing waste codes. If you don’t let us know, your future permission won’t accurately reflect what waste type you can accept or transport.

Missing or incorrect waste codes will impact your ability to legally transport or accept that waste type. Please contact EPA within 10 business days, after you receive the proposed notice of amendment, to correct any inaccuracies.

If any of your details are inaccurate or incorrect, we had asked that you please notify EPA by close of business Thursday 6 May 2021.  Contact us at contact@epa.vic.gov.au if you have any further queries, call EPA contact centre on 1300 372 842.

Note: New waste transport permissions will include only reportable priority waste codes. This is whether the permission is for the transport of high-risk reportable priority waste (A10a) or reportable priority waste (other) (A10b). For example, K200 is no longer included on a waste transport permission as it’s a priority waste and not a reportable priority waste. 

Reviewed 9 September 2021