New Regulated Waste Classification and Waste-related Environmentally Relevant Activity (ERA) Regulations
The Regulated Waste Classification and Waste-related Environmentally Relevant Activity (ERA) regulations are used to identify and appropriately manage the risks associated with various wastes and associated waste management activities.
A review of the existing regulations was undertaken to develop a new, contemporary risk-based approach and ensure they reflect current waste management standards, practices and technologies.
Following the review, the following regulations were made, which amended the Environmental Protection Regulation 2008 as it was then, which was replaced by the Environmental Protection Regulation 2019 (EP Regulation) on 1 September 2019:
- Environmental Protection (Regulated Waste) Amendment Regulation 2018
- Environmental Protection (Waste ERA Framework) Amendment Regulation 2018.
Environmental Protection (Regulated Waste) Amendment Regulation 2018
The Environmental Protection (Regulated Waste) Amendment Regulation 2018 commenced on 4 February 2019. This amendment introduced a new risk-based waste classification framework and regulated waste will now be classified as either:
- Category 1 regulated waste (highest risk)
- Category 2 regulated waste (moderate risk); or
- Not-regulated waste / general waste (lowest risk).
Schedule 9 of the EP Regulation provides a list of regulated wastes and their default category, wastes that are not regulated waste, and categorisation thresholds for solid and liquid tested waste.
Waste generators are responsible for classifying their waste into a risk-based category by either:
- adopting a default waste category from Part 1 of Schedule 9 of the EP Regulation; or
- organising sampling and testing of their waste by an appropriately qualified person to demonstrate an appropriate risk-based category in accordance with section 43 of the EP Regulation.
The guideline Overview of regulated waste categorisation (ESR/2019/4749) outlines the process for sampling and testing waste to demonstrate an appropriate risk-based category in accordance with section 43 of the EP Regulation
Where an appropriate risk based category is demonstrated in accordance with section 43 of the EP Regulation, the waste is referred to as tested waste. While the test results remain valid (maximum of 3 months) the waste can be transported and processed or disposed of under the EP Regulation as the category of waste it became through the testing process. The waste generator and waste receiver must record prescribed information for each load of tested waste in the approved form Record of tested waste (ESR/2019/4862).
Environmental Protection (Waste ERA Framework) Amendment Regulation 2018
The Environmental Protection (Waste ERA Framework) Amendment Regulation 2018 introduced a new schedule of waste-related ERAs. These are:
- ERA 53 Organic material processing
- ERA 54 Mechanical waste reprocessing
- ERA 55 Other waste reprocessing or treatment
- ERA 57 Regulated waste transport
- ERA 60 Waste disposal
- ERA 61 Thermal waste reprocessing and treatment
- ERA 62 Resource recovery and transfer facility operation.
Stage 1 changes
The waste ERA framework commenced in 2 phases:
Stage 1 commenced on 23 November 2018 and included:
- new ERA 60 (waste disposal) regulations for facilities that:
- dispose of inert-waste (other than clean earth)
- no longer accept waste for the purpose of disposal and that are undergoing rehabilitation
- new ERA 53 (organic material processing) regulations that includes:
- new licensing requirements for facilities that operate an anaerobic digester
- exemptions to exclude certain on-farm composting activities from requiring an ERA
- new regulations that will require sites that store greater than 4 tonnes or 500 equivalent passenger units of end-of-life (waste) tyres to obtain an environmental authority.
If you operate ERA 60 and amend your environmental authority to change the threshold for ERA 60 or add a lot on plan, the changes could affect your annual fees.
The information sheet Waste ERA Framework – Stage 1 (ESR/2018/4568) will assist you to determine whether the stage 1 changes impact your environmental authority.
Stage 2 changes
Stage 2 commenced on 1 July 2019 and introduces the remaining waste-related ERAs.
If you operate a current waste-related ERA in the table below, your current waste-related ERA will be transitioning to one or more of the corresponding new waste-related ERAs from 1 July 2019. The new waste related ERAs have a number of thresholds based on the type and quantity of waste processed. The details of your operation will determine which corresponding new waste-related ERA your existing waste related ERAs become.
The information sheet Overview of the new waste ERA framework – Stage 2 (ESR/2019/4606) will assist you to determine if your environmental authority is affected.
The information sheet Category 1 and 2 regulated waste (ESR/2019/4746) lists the regulated waste that has a default category 1 and category 2 to assist in determining the thresholds for the new waste ERAs.
You can find information about each new waste-related ERA by clicking on the new ERA number in the table below.
The department has contacted all operators of environmental authorities with waste-related ERAs requesting information to determine the equivalent new waste-related ERA for their environmental authority.
The information sheet Fees for new waste environmentally relevant activities (ERAs) (ESR/2019/4789) details the new fees that apply for waste-related ERAs from the first anniversary day after 15 November 2019 or the first anniversary day after an amendment if the environmental authority is amended before 15 November 2019.
A detailed summary of the consultation process and the new regulations is provided in the following Decision Regulatory Impact Statement .
For further information email Waste.Reform@des.qld.gov.au.