New EPA guides to help the construction industry properly dispose of waste
The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has published two new guidance documents to help the construction and demolition industry strengthen their procurement and contract processes around waste disposal.
To help the construction and demolition industry avoid engaging rogue waste operators, the EPA has published two documents that are designed to help procurement officers and construction project managers manage and dispose of their waste:
- Construction and demolition waste: a management toolkit, and
- Owner’s guide to lawful disposal of construction and demolition waste.
Following these documents will help both private and government organisations strengthen their waste processes. The documents provide step-by-step guides to help industry bolster their contracts with waste transporters, and factor in control measures from the beginning of the procurement process through to disposal.
EPA Executive Director Waste Operations Carmen Dwyer said the documents outline quick, easy-to-follow steps the industry can take to make sure they don’t get caught up in waste scams.
“We know that most people in this industry are keen to cut out unlawful behaviour, and the Toolkit and Guide provide steps that businesses can take to ensure their waste material is lawfully disposed of,” Ms Dwyer said.
“Unlawful disposal can harm the environment, undercut the legitimate market and remove valuable recyclable resources from the economy.”
Waste generated from construction and demolition sites, including soil, contaminated soil and demolition waste, must be disposed of or re-used lawfully. In NSW, the owner of the waste and the waste transporter may all be guilty of an offence if waste is transported to the wrong facility.
Penalties apply for doing the wrong thing: an individual can be fined up to $250,000, and a corporation can be fined up to $1,000,000. If the offence involves asbestos waste, the fines double.
The Toolkit and Guide refer specifically to the tender, contract and project management phases of construction projects. They are designed to help procurement officers on construction projects engage and manage contractors involved in construction and demolition to ensure appropriate and lawful processes are followed.
Tips to track your waste
- Know who you are doing business with: check that the waste contractor you are using is a legitimate company. You can check if the EPA has taken any actions against a company or individual by checking the Public Register;
- Have a written agreement or contract to ensure waste expectations and rules are set out early;
- Know where your waste is going and make sure that the nominated end point can lawfully receive your type of waste;
- Get proof of lawful disposal before paying: ask for disposal dockets to prove the material went to a lawful waste facility, and validate that all the transported waste (not just a part of it) was disposed of there;
- Notify the EPA immediately if something is not right. You can call the Environment Line 24/7 on 131 555 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org