You can classify most industrial wastes, other than soil, using Schedule 5 of the Environment Protection Regulations 2021. You can use Schedule 5 to check if the waste:
- fits a description in column 3
- is pre-classified in column 5.
If the waste is pre-classified , you can find its waste code in column 4. If the waste is not pre-classified, it has a mirror code.
Check columns 6, 7 and 8 to find out if the waste is also:
- priority waste
- reportable priority waste (transactions), meaning you need to track the waste
- reportable priority waste (transport), meaning you need to transport it in a permissioned vehicle.
If more than one description in column 3 applies, you must classify and manage it as the most hazardous waste type. For example, if waste fits the description of both reportable priority waste and industrial waste, classify it as reportable priority waste.
If you’re sending priority waste to landfill you also need to determine which priority waste category applies.
Refer to our Guide to classifying industrial waste (publication 1968) for further guidance.
Waste codes identify waste to others in the waste supply chain. You can find waste codes in Schedule 5. Reportable priority wastes need a waste code before transportation. If there’s no code in Schedule 5, you may apply for a designation to allocate a waste code.
Most industrial wastes are pre-classified in Schedule 5. This means you can easily find the waste code and type of most industrial wastes. A small number of wastes listed in Schedule 5 have mirror codes.
Some wastes are potentially hazardous in some circumstances, but not in others. For example, drilling muds may be hazardous when contaminated with hydraulic fluids or they may contain contaminated soil.
A mirror code is similar to other waste codes, but has two variations:
- hazardous (code ending in -H)
- non-hazardous (code ending in -NH).
Waste with a hazardous mirror code have additional controls and requirements compared to non-hazardous mirror codes. You’ll find mirror codes in Schedule 5. You can determine if waste with a mirror code is hazardous or non-hazardous using the Waste classification assessment protocol (publication 1827).
Working with an accredited consigner
An accredited consigner can help you classify your waste. Working with an accredited consigner is optional.
Sometimes you can't classify new or unusual waste types with the usual process for classifying waste. In these cases we can issue a designation.
If you manage or control priority waste, contact us to discuss if you need a designation. If you do need one you can apply through the EPA portal. Or, we may issue a designation of general application to classify the waste. When you apply for a designation, that designation applies only to you. A designation of general application applies to anyone managing waste under the circumstances covered by the designation.
You must meet strict criteria before we issue a designation. EPA only issues designations when:
- managing the waste under the designation won’t pose a risk to human health or the environment
- you can’t classify the waste without one
- not issuing one would place an unfair burden on those managing or controlling the waste.
How a designation works
A manufacturer implements a new production system resulting in a waste which doesn’t clearly fit a description in Schedule 5 of the Environment Protection Regulations 2020. The waste producer classifies the waste using the criteria in Table 2 of the Waste Classification Assessment Protocol (publication 1827). It’s priority waste but there is no relevant waste code. In this situation, the waste producer should contact EPA to discuss if they need to apply for a designation.
You can find existing designations on the public register.
Transition of specific classifications to designations
If you hold a specific classification issued under r.11(1)(c) of the Environment Protection (Industrial Waste Resource) Regulations 2009 (the IWR Regulations), it does not need to be amended or re-issued under the new environment protection framework.
Through the Environment Protection Transition Regulations 2021, a classification of specific application will be a designation under the new legislation and remain valid until 30 June 2023.
Some waste codes and waste descriptions changed from 1 July 2021. Waste code transition to Environment Protection Regulations 2021 (Publication 1967) maps the old waste codes to their equivalent code under the new framework.
Waste classification tool
Our waste classification tool helps you classify waste. If you create, manage or control industrial waste, this tool helps you understand:
- waste codes
- types of waste
- duties associated with different waste types
- disposal and treatment options.
You can use the tool with:
- Guide to classifying industrial waste (publication 1968)
- Schedule 5 of the Environment Protection Regulations 2020.
Reviewed 9 September 2021