If your business generates, transports or receives industrial waste, you have duties:
- under the general environmental duty, relating to your business activity
- to manage the waste and where it goes.
Industrial waste includes waste from:
- commercial, industrial and trade activities, or from laboratories
- household waste once it is gathered at a waste facility (for example transfer station, landfill)
- accommodation, cafes and restaurants
- building and road construction, renovations, demolitions and repairs
- primary industries including agriculture, forestry and fishing.
We will apply strict penalties if you:
- dump or abandon industrial waste
- don’t check your waste will be managed appropriately, when you give it to others.
Duties if you provide industrial waste to others
- You must take reasonable steps to identify and classify your waste.
- You must take all reasonable steps to make sure your waste is taken to a lawful place. For example, by engaging a reputable contractor to transport and dispose of your waste.
- If your business produces industrial waste and you are going to give this waste to others, either for disposal or resource recovery, there are specific requirements you must meet.
Duties if you deposit industrial waste
If you deposit, or dispose of industrial waste, it must be at a ‘lawful place’. This includes sorting, recovery and disposal facilities. If you receive or deposit industrial waste, it is your responsibility to know whether it is a lawful place.
Duties if you receive industrial waste
If you receive industrial waste, you must be a lawful place.
Duties if you deal with ‘priority’ industrial waste
If you are dealing with a ‘priority’ waste, which covers hazardous wastes, you have additional duties.
How to manage industrial waste
To meet the waste duties, businesses must:
- take reasonable steps to identify and classify the waste
- give the next person handling the waste enough information to transport it to a lawful place
- make sure that the place receiving the waste is a lawful place
- not deposit the waste at a lawful place without consent from the permission holder, or manager of the premises.
Your ‘reasonable steps’ may be different depending on the type of waste and its risk of mismanagement and dumping. Higher risk wastes require more attention and verification.
Find out more about:
- Classification. Industrial waste must be identified and classified. This makes it clear what duties apply to the management of the waste. Read the Guide to classifying industrial waste (publication 1968).
- Transportation. You must contain your waste safely during transport. Some wastes have specific containment, isolation, vehicle permission and tracking requirements.
- Lawful place. Industrial waste may only go a lawful place.
What is a lawful place?
There are several ways for a place to be a lawful place. These are proportionate to the level of risk and include places:
- authorised by a permission to undertake resource recovery or landfill disposal activities
- using waste in a low-risk activity deemed to be a lawful place by the Regulations
- using waste in a low-risk activity covered by a declaration of use
A wide range of waste recovery activities will need a permission (licence, permit or registration) to become a lawful place. This includes waste and resource recovery activities as well as disposal to landfill. Resource recovery means it can be recycled, repurposed or used in a different way.
Mismanagement of industrial waste is a serious issue and the penalties we impose reflect the significance of waste crime issues.
Courts may impose a maximum of 10,000 penalty units on businesses who breach their duties and 2,000 penalty units on individuals.
There are also offences available to tackle repeat offenders and directors of companies involved in waste crime, including imprisonment.
Guide to classifying industrial waste (publication 1968)
Reviewed 20 June 2023