Compliance and enforcement

Organic waste

Organic material makes up more than 60 per cent of all waste disposed of in Victorian landfills. There are state government initiatives to divert organic material from landfills but if not properly managed, organic material can cause environmental harm by polluting surface and groundwater and cause odour impacts on local communities.

In 2014–15 EPA will continue to contribute to the Victorian Waste and Resource Recovery Policy (Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning) by releasing updated compost processing guidelines. We will also work with composting businesses to benchmark the industry’s current practices and support the industry’s transformation to higher operational and performance standards. EPA’s focus will not be exclusively on licensed composting operators; there are a growing number of small un-licensed composters that may be accepting volumes and/or types of organic materials which may trigger the need for an EPA statutory approval, such as a works approval. These sites will also be investigated.

What is EPA focusing on?

EPA will aim to encourage operators of licensed composting facilities to operate at best practice, as to minimise their impacts on the environment and local communities. This is a multi-year project that will involve a review of licence conditions. However, EPA’s focus will not be limited to licensed operators; we will also investigate the practices of small un-licensed composting activities.

In 2014–15, EPA will map the industry to build a comprehensive understanding of existing and emerging issues, release updated guidelines to provide clarity, undertake site inspections to investigate operations and to interact with site operators.

What can you do?

  • Identify and address the environmental risks – such as odour, surface and groundwater contamination – that may result from current operational practices.
  • Consider whether your facility needs additional maintenance or upgrades to reduce impacts to the environment and local communities.
  • Ensure processes are in place to appropriately track and record: organic wastes accepted; management of the composting process; and quality of product produced. Provide this information to EPA upon request.
  • Ensure you have an appropriate monitoring program and that you maintain records of monitoring reports, including a log of any complaints received, to present to a visiting EPA officer.
  • Make sure you are aware of any approvals required for your business to operate. For example, if you compost more than 100 tonnes of waste per month you will require an EPA works approval and licence. Remember that if organic waste is stockpiled at your site, it may be breaking down. This process may be deemed as composting. All composting sites generating a product for sale will require a council planning permit.


Page last updated on 4 Jul 2017