As of 1 August 2015, all waste facilities, including waste facilities that do not pay waste levy contributions, must now annually report the amount of waste handled, in accordance with the Waste Levy Guidelines. The new reporting requirements give the EPA more oversight across the industry and replace the voluntary data surveys presently conducted in relation to recycling.
The changes increase reporting obligations, particularly for waste facilities that previously did not pay contributions under the waste levy. All waste facilities are encouraged to analyse current practices to ensure compliance with the additional reporting requirements. Data such as the amount, type and destination of waste received and sent off-site is collected through the EPA’s website.
Additionally, scheduled waste facilities that are required to pay contributions under section 88 of the POEO Act must now provide monthly waste contribution reports as well as volumetric surveys.
Waste contribution monthly reports
The new requirements apply to all scheduled waste facilities, including recycling facilities, which are exempt from the waste levy. There are limited exemptions to the amended reporting requirements, including:
- landfills which only receive virgin excavated natural material
- landfills exempt from paying waste levy contributions under clause 19 in regards to putrescible waste landfills subject to supervisory licences.
From 1 August 2015 contributions reports for scheduled waste disposal facilities must be completed within a specified time period dependent on the type of facility as follows:
- Scheduled waste disposal facilities: 56 days from the end of the month
- Scheduled coal waste facilities: 26 days from the end of the month
- All other scheduled waste facilities required to pay the waste levy under s.88 of the POEO Act: 14 days from the end of the month
- Trackable liquid waste: exempt from this requirement.
These reports must contain the quantity of waste received within the month, the waste type in accordance with the Waste Levy Guidelines, and any approved particulars relating to the waste facility.
Scheduled waste landfill disposal facilities required to pay the waste levy must carry out a volumetric survey of the facility twice a year. All other facilities must carry out a volumetric survey once a year. All results must be reported to the EPA in the form and manner specified in the Waste Levy Guidelines.
Maximum penalties for non-compliance with reporting and survey requirements are $22,000 for corporations and $11,000 for individuals.
Records are to be retained for a minimum of 6 years and should be in accordance with the Waste Levy Guidelines even where facilities are not required to pay the waste levy.
Voluntary surveys not working
The reporting requirements come in response to a lack of quantity and quality in data pertaining to the waste industry, particularly recycling facilities. Previously, recycling data came from voluntary surveys only.
The changes will support the EPA’s increasing regulatory oversight powers across the waste industry. They improve the reliability of data which can be used to evaluate the other changes being made under the new regulations, and monitor other environmental impacts.
Further reading about the 12 areas of staged change to the NSW Protection of the Environment Operations Waste Regulations.