Status
Active
Incident Date
14 December 2022
Locations Affected
Suburbs: Cambellfield, Tottenham, Tullamarine, West Footscray.

EPA regions: Northern Metropolitan, Western Metropolitan.

This incident was last updated on 28 July 2023

 

Summary

EPA has been investigating the storing of soft plastics intended for recycling since May 2022. There are currently 5 locations across Victoria storing soft plastics from the REDcycle program. 

Following interventions by EPA, all sites in Victoria are now classified as low or medium risk and all have relevant EPA permissions in place. Investigations are continuing. 

Please keep reading for more information, or jump to the latest updates at the bottom of this page.

Compliance and enforcement

Charges

We have withdrawn charges for non-compliance with an Information Gathering Notices. EPA now has the information we sought.

EPA is required to comply with the Office of Public Prosecutions Victoria guidelines and deemed it wasn’t in the public interest to proceed with these charges at this time. One of the considerations was that the company has been placed into external liquidation.

Our investigations continue into REDcycle’s activities. EPA could lay more serious charges or reinstate these charges at a later date. Our focus is on more serious offenses under Victoria’s environmental protection laws. 

Notices

An Improvement Notice was issued on 20 May 2022, while a Prohibition Notice was issued in September 2022. Both were revoked when investigations revealed there were no compliance issues.

In mid-December, one Prohibition Notice and 3 Improvement Notices were issued to various sites.

Further information is available in the timeline at the bottom of this page.

Confirmed locations with soft plastics

Over the course of our investigations we found 14 locations where soft plastics from the program were being stored. There are now 5 active sites. We will update this list if more sites are identified.

  • Cambellfield
  • Tottenham (first site)
  • Tottenham (second site)
  • Tullamarine
  • West Footscray

 

Following interventions by EPA, all sites in Victoria are now classified as low or medium risk and all have relevant EPA permissions in place.

 


    How to report soft plastic storage

    If you notice soft plastic waste being stored or transported, we need to know. You can notify us by:


    Timeline 

    • July 2023: EPA withdraws charges against REDcycle
      • EPA has withdrawn charges for non-compliance with an Information Gathering Notices. EPA now has the information we sought.
      • EPA is required to comply with the Office of Public Prosecutions Victoria guidelines and deemed that it wasn’t in the public interest to proceed with these charges at this time. One of the considerations was that the company has been placed into external liquidation.
      • EPA’s investigations continue into REDcycle’s activities. We could lay more serious charges or reinstate these charges at a later date. Our focus is on more serious offenses under Victoria’s environmental protection laws.
    • 27 February 2023: REDcycle declares insolvency
      • REDcycle accepts the offer by Coles and Woolworths to take responsibility for the 12,400 tonnes of soft plastics stored by REDcycle in warehouses across Australia.
    • 3 February 2023: More sites confirmed
      • Another 4 more warehouses are confirmed in Laverton, Truganina, Tullamarine and Craigieburn. 
      • This brings it to a total of 14 confirmed sites in Victoria where soft plastics are being stored: Campbellfield, Craigieburn (first site), Craigieburn (second site), Dandenong South, Laverton, Tottenham (first site), Tottenham (second site), Truganina  (first site), Truganina (second site), Tullamarine (first site), Tullamarine (second site), West Footscray, West Wodonga, Williamstown North.
    • 12 January 2023: New site confirmed
      • An additional site is confirmed in Craigieburn.
    • 22 December 2022: Charges laid and new site confirmed
      • EPA Victoria charges RG Programs and Services Pty Ltd, the operators of the REDcycle program, with 3 counts of failing to comply with an Information Gathering Notice. It is alleged RG Programs and Services Pty Ltd only provided partial information of known storage sites in response to the Information Gathering Notice. EPA is not satisfied there is a reasonable excuse for non-disclosure, leading to the charges today. RG Programs and Services Pty Ltd faces a fine, with a maximum penalty of more than $165,000.

      • An additional site is confirmed in Dandenong South. This site is a manufacturing facility that is registered with EPA. It is safely storing the material, now known to be from the REDcycle program.

    • 16 December 2022: Improvement Notice issued
      • A notice is issued to the operator of a premises in West Footscray that is storing soft plastics. This notice requires the duty holder to:
        • clear access around the soft plastics
        • reconfigure plastic waste materials at the premises.
    • 15 December 2022: Improvement Notices issued
      • A notice is issued to the operator of a second premises in Tottenham that is storing soft plastics. This notice requires the duty holder to:
        • clear access around the soft plastics
        • reconfigure plastic waste materials at the premises.
      • A further notice is issued to the operator of a premises in Truganina that is also storing soft plastics. This notice requires the duty holder to:
        • reconfigure plastic waste materials at the premises.
      • A third notice is issued to the operator of a premises in Campbellfield that is storing soft plastics. This notice requires the duty holder to:
        • reconfigure plastic waste materials at the premises.
    • 14 December 2022: Further inspections and Prohibition Notice issued
      • A notice is issued to the operator of a premises in Tottenham that is storing soft plastics. This notice requires the duty holder to:
        • immediately stop accepting plastic waste at the premises
        • reconfigure plastic waste materials on site.
      • EPA Officers return to REDcycle’s Williamstown North premises. The organisation is no longer operating from the site.
    • 9 December 2022: EPA inspects 7 sites
      • EPA Officers attend 7 sites linked to the soft plastics recycling program. 6 are being used to store soft plastics. Investigations into these sites are ongoing.
    • 6 December 2022: EPA inspects 2 sites
      • EPA Officers attend 2 sites linked to the soft plastics recycling program. One is storing soft plastics. Investigations into these sites are ongoing.
    • 10 November 2022: Information Gathering Notices issued
      • Responding to intelligence, EPA issues an Information Gathering Notices for three entities linked to the soft plastics recycling program.
      • These notices seek information on all premises where waste is being managed, and other details. The Information Gathering Notice required information be provided on the locations and amounts of stored soft plastics. This notice and other regulatory action followed EPA discovering quantities of soft plastics being stored in a Williamstown North warehouse in May 2022.
    • 4 November 2022: General inspection at Williamstown North
      • EPA Officers attend the REDcycle’s Williamstown North premises as part of our ongoing Fire Prevention Program. The site is compliant.
    • 14 September 2022: Prohibition Notice revoked
      • EPA Officers attend the REDcycle’s Williamstown North premises. The site is compliant with the requirements of the Prohibition Notice issued on 2 September 2022. The notice was revoked.
    • 2 September 2022: Prohibition Notice issued
      • EPA Officers attend the REDcycle’s Williamstown North premises with representatives of the local council. They determine that there is inadequate management of environmental risks.
      • A Notice is issued. It requires the duty holder to:
        • immediately cease accepting combustible materials (including soft plastics) at the premises
        • reconfigure the materials already stored on site.
    • 27 July 2022: Improvement Notice revoked
      • EPA, local council and Fire Rescue Victoria attend REDcycle’s Williamstown North site.
      • The site is compliant with the Improvement Notice issued on 20 May 2022 therefore the Notice is revoked.
    • 20 May 2022: Improvement Notice issued
      • EPA Officers inspect REDcycle’s Williamstown North site. They determine that storage of waste at the premises is an environmental risk.
      • EPA issues an Improvement Notice.

    Responsibilities by organisation

    There are many organisations that have a role in regulation, to prevent and manage any risks.

    EPA

    As Victoria’s independent environment regulator, our role is to check and enforce compliance with the Environment Protection Act (2017).

    EPA is responsible for preventing or controlling pollution and improving the quality of the environment. This responsibility includes regulating activities that may present a danger to the environment.

    One of the tools available to EPA is the licensing of certain scheduled premises that may present a risk to the environment. The EPA ensures duty holders, such as SBI, complies with the obligations of their licence to minimise risk to human health and the environment.

    Department of Environment, Energy and Climate Action (DEECA)

    Formerly known as the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP). DEECA brings together Victoria's climate change, energy, environment, water, forests, planning and emergency management functions into a single department.

    Sustainability Victoria

    Sustainability Victoria delivers future planning for waste and resource recovery. This includes supporting recycling and waste programs.

    Recycling Victoria

    Recycling Victoria oversees and regulates the Victoria’s waste and recycling sector. They educate and raise awareness about appropriate waste disposal methods.

    Local councils

    Responsible for waste management within their individual jurisdictions.

    Fire Rescue Victoria

    Responsible for managing fires within metropolitan areas.

    Country Fire Authority

    A volunteer organisation providing fire management in regional areas.

    More information

    Reviewed 28 July 2023