Have your say on construction waste management reforms

Proposed minimum standards for managing construction waste in NSW and other miscellaneous waste reforms

The Environment Protection Authority would like to know what you think about proposed changes to NSW environment protection legislation concerning construction waste.

These changes build on the 2014 reforms of the Protection of the Environment Operations (Waste) Regulation, by seeking to drive further resource recovery and address poor waste practices.

Previous consultation

The EPA undertook consultation on proposed changes through a Consultation Paper (PDF 655KB) released in 2016. The EPA has prepared a Consultation Report (PDF 489KB), which provides a response to stakeholder submissions on the changes.

The proposed changes

A draft regulation (PDF 290KB) has been prepared that takes into consideration the feedback received from stakeholders during the consultation period. The EPA has developed, with input from an industry working group, draft standards (PDF 270KB) for managing construction waste in NSW. This is a document that is referenced in the draft regulation, and will have legal force.

The proposed changes set standards to ensure appropriate management, production and use of materials recovered from construction waste. These changes seek to ensure that waste is appropriately sorted, the quality of recovered materials is maintained, and human health and the environment are protected.

Other changes proposed by the EPA relate to

  • improving performance at landfills
  • improving the handling of asbestos waste
  • transported waste deductions
  • new operational purpose deductions
  • clarifying how the waste contributions are applied at resource recovery facilities
  • monitoring of waste at licensed facilities
  • waste transport
  • changing the land pollution offence changing licensing requirements for a small number of activities clarifying resource recovery exemptions
  • providing for the issue of penalty notices for certain offences
  • updating references to local government areas

These proposed changes complement existing waste policy in NSW, including the NSW Government's Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2014-21, and the significant investment in grants and funding opportunities through the NSW Government's Waste Less Recycle More program ($802 million plus over nine years).

The Problem

Through compliance programs and regulation activities the EPA has become aware of a range of issues in the construction and demolition waste sector. The sector has potential to return large volumes of recovered material into the economy and into the environment. However, a number of operators in the sector have minimal environmental controls and poor processes that are not maximising the safe recovery of resources.

The NSW community and environment could potentially be exposed to significant risks from contaminated products, including asbestos waste. These poor practices can also lead to the loss of valuable resources from the productive economy. The EPA has a responsibility to ensure that recovered materials are produced with all the necessary procedures to protect the community and the environment.

What do you think?

Comments on the draft Proposed minimum standards for managing construction waste in NSW and other miscellaneous waste reforms closed at 5pm 12 December 2017.

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