The NSW Environment Protection Authority (NSW EPA) is seeking feedback on proposals aimed at boosting the quality and amount of recycled construction and demolition (C&D) waste material in NSW.
Launched on 21 October, the proposed changes are outlined in the consultation paper New minimum standards for managing construction and demolition waste in NSW.
The draft reforms, which would come into effect on 1 March 2017, incorporate new objectives for the sorting, recycling and disposal of C&D waste at facilities that receive more than 6,000 tonnes per year and that deal with the majority of this material in the state. They set minimum annual resource recovery targets of 75 per cent for a facility that receives more than 30,000 tonnes of C&D waste annually, and 50 per cent for facilities that receive between 6,000 and 30,000 tonnes.
Working to these standards would help the NSW Government achieve the state’s recycling target of 80 per cent for C&D waste by 2021.
“In a modern waste environment such as ours these standards are both expected and achievable,” said NSW EPA Executive Director of Waste and Resource Recovery Steve Beaman.
He emphasised that once in place, working to the new standards would have benefits for both the environment and human health.
“By improving the quality of recycled construction and demolition product before it leaves the waste facility, we can reduce the potential for load contamination and increase the amount of material that can be recycled back into productive reuse opportunities,” Mr Beaman said.
“We are also helping to protect the health of our environment by ensuring that contaminated waste is identified, separated and appropriately disposed of before it leaves the recycling yard and is not mixed in with recycled waste purposed for reuse in our communities,” he added.
The proposed reforms also expand the obligations on waste operators around asbestos transport and disposal to reduce the OH&S risks, and seek to improve practices at landfills, including addressing waste exhumation. The document also makes clear some key requirements on the administration and application of the waste levy.
“This public consultation period is an important time for the waste industry, stakeholders and interested members of the public to have their say on the proposed changes and I encourage them to provide their comments,” added Mr Beaman.
The consultation period runs until 17 November, and NSW EPA will hold industry forums in Newcastle and Parramatta on 3 and 4 November to inform the consultation process. The consultation paper, details of the forums, and information about how to submit comments can be found on the NSW EPA website.