Healthy Environment, Healthy Community, Healthy Business

Environment Protection Authority

Environmental Issues

Waste and recycling

Resource recovery orders and exemptions

Where it can be demonstrated that a specific type of waste can safely be used for another purpose, rather than being disposed of in accordance with the waste regulations, the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) may grant permission for that waste to be used for the specified purpose, subject to strict conditions.

The application of waste to land, the use of waste as a fuel, and the use of waste in connection with a process of thermal treatment in NSW may trigger various regulatory requirements such as the need to hold an environment protection licence or pay the waste levy.

Under the Protection of the Environment Operations (Waste) Regulation 2014 (2014 Waste Regulation), the EPA has the power to grant exemption from some of these requirements, where it can be demonstrated that the use of the waste is bona-fide, fit-for-purpose and causes no harm to the environment or human health, rather than a means of waste disposal.

Two separate documents

Under the new provisions of the 2014 Waste Regulation, the EPA will now issue two separate documents: a resource recovery order and a resource recovery exemption. (These replace the previous Resource Recovery Exemption system.)

Resource recovery orders – conditions for generators and processors

Resource recovery orders include conditions which generators and processors of waste must meet to supply the waste for land application, use as fuel or in connection with a process of thermal treatment.  They may include specifications, record-keeping, reporting and other requirements. All resource recovery orders are made under clause 93 of the 2014 Waste Regulation.

Resource recovery exemptions – conditions for consumers

Resource recovery exemptions contain the conditions which consumers must meet to apply waste to land, or use the waste as fuel or in connection with a process of thermal treatment outside certain requirements of the waste regulatory framework. They may include requirements on how to re-use or apply the waste, and record-keeping, reporting and other requirements. All resource recovery exemptions are made under clauses 91 and 92 of the 2014 Waste Regulation.

Record keeping requirements

Records required by a resource recovery order or resource recovery exemption must be kept for six years. Records previously required to be kept under general and specific resource recovery exemptions must be retained.

Applying for an exemption

Where no resource recovery order or resource recovery exemption is currently available for the intended use of a waste material, an application can be made to the EPA in accordance with the guidelines on resource recovery exemptions.

More information

 

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Page last updated: 14 January 2015