Sometimes you can't classify new or unusual waste types with the usual process for classifying waste. In these cases EPA can issue a designation. Find out more about designations, including when to apply for one.

Prepare your designation application

When applying for a new designation it’s important that you’re well prepared before completing an online application. The amount and type of information you provide will generally be proportionate to the level of risk from your activity. We also consider whether your proposed controls are in line with state of knowledge.

The designation application process requires you to provide information and evidence for EPA to consider how you:

Remember, if your waste can be classified, do not apply for a designation. See how to classify waste for more information.

Completing your application

When you apply for a designation online, you’ll find a helpful navigation tool, ‘Steps’, on the left-hand of the screen. This provides a step-by-step map of the question topics, from start to finish. It also tracks your progress as you move through the application form by ticking off your completed sections.

Some questions in the designation application are compulsory and these have an asterisk (*). There are also questions you don’t need to answer if they’re not relevant to your activity. If this is the case, type ‘not applicable’ and justify why in the field provided. If you leave it blank, you can’t progress.

Supplement your answers by attaching documents to the online form where necessary. 

Your application must include supporting documents:

  • a complete and signed Designation (waste) application form (regulation 86)
  • Analytical results of representative samples;
  • Interpretation of the results;
  • Review of relevant scientific papers;
  • Evidence that supports the claims made in your application; and
  • Any specific information needed for a common type of designation application.

This is important, as you must make sure we have enough information and evidence to assess your application. If you make claims, you must justify them. Your application must include evidence to support your claims. You can attach documents on a dedicated page at the end of the application form.

Guidance for common types of designation applications

Designations for naturally elevated constituents in soils 

Support your application with state of knowledge, including the Victorian Background Soil Database and surrounding environmental audits. Soils can be naturally elevated in constituents. Examples are:
  • naturally occurring metals;
  • naturally occuring fluorides.

Fill material designation applications will be refused in situations where naturally enriched soils have been imported into a local environment where that soil is not endemic. See publication 2033 Background levels methodology guidance for more information.

Designations for waste containing Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)

Designation applications for landfill disposal of PFAS-containing waste must address PFAS NEMP requirements. You must support your application with Australian Standard Leaching Procedure (ASLP) testing results. Do your ASLP testing with both pH 5 and unbuffered reagent water as leaching reagents. These are requirements of the PFAS NEMP. These requirements remain in the draft of PFAS NEMP 3.0 and should continue. See PFAS and waste: guidance for business, for more information. 

For soils, only apply where:
  • the levels are above those in the Designation for PFAS impacted soil; and
  • there are no other options for reuse or recycling of the waste.

Designations for immobilised waste

Immobilisation is the process of restricting movement of contaminants in the waste. The treatment minimises movement of the contaminants from the waste into the environment. This can help minimise harm to the environment and human health.

For immobilised waste:

  • identify each contaminant of concern;
  • describe the method of immobilisation for each contaminant;
  • show the long-term immobilisation of each contaminant of concern;
  • conduct multiple extraction procedure (MEP) analysis on samples; and
  • conduct all analyses on representative samples.

The following information gives a summary of a new designation online application process.

How to apply for a designation

Items 1 to 3 in the designation application establish the type of application you want, who’s applying for it and if you meet the criteria to hold an EPA designation.

Items 4 and 5 establish why you need a designation and the location(s) where it will apply.

In the EPA portal, choose Exemptions, ADDs, BEP, and waste designations from the Applications menu at the top of the screen and click on Start application.

1. Application type

  • Select Waste Designation from the drop-down menu.

2. Applicant details

  • Provide your name and contact details of the designation applicants.
  • Provide the company’s details. Companies must have an ACN. Sole traders, Government agencies and Not-for-profits must have an ABN.

3. Prescribed permission activity

  • Select N: Non-scheduled Item, then Non-scheduled Activity.
  • Provide a summary of the outcome you are seeking with a designation (1000-word limit). Your summary must demonstrate that you have management or control of the waste to apply for a designation.

4. Activity locations

  • Select fixed location.
  • Then select:
    • the 'add new location' button
    • enter your location on the map or by typing into the search box in the map.

Note: After selecting your location, you can add additional details in the unstructured address field.

5. Supporting evidence

You must attach a completed and signed Designation (waste) application form (regulation 86).

You need to attach any further supporting evidence. This includes:
  • Analytical results of representative samples;
  • Interpretation of results;
  • Review of relevant scientific literature;
  • Evidence that supports the claims made in your application; and
  • Information needed for a relevant common type of designation application.

In the field provided, give a summary of what you’re attaching including:

  • file titles
  • any document references.

Here, you need to declare the information you provided in the application is the truth.

During the assessment of your application, we may require additional information. We will contact you if this is the case.

6. Application summary

You can review your complete application at this step. If you identify any changes required, use the back button on the page to move back through the application steps.

7. Submit

You will be given an application ID when you submit your application, it’s useful to record this number for future reference. No application fee is required.


Reviewed 18 September 2023