Queensland’s Waste Management and Resource Recovery Strategy provides a strategic framework to reduce the amount of waste we generate and support the growth of the resource recovery and recycling industry. The Strategy is underpinned by a waste levy, which provides a financial saving for waste producers who reduce the amount of waste they send to landfill.
To understand how this is going to impact the cost of your project you need to understand what areas of Queensland the levy applies to, what wastes are leviable, what waste category your waste falls into and if your waste is eligible for a levy exemption.
The levy zone includes 39 out of 77 local government areas in Queensland, which covers around 90% of Queensland’s population and is where the majority of waste is generated and disposed. The levy applies to the location of disposal not generation. You can Google ‘levy zone map’ to find a link to the map of levy zones on the QLD Government’s website.
In summary all waste is leviable unless exempt by definition or exempt by submitting an application. The following wastes are exempt by definition (although evidence that the waste meets the following definitions will need to be provided to the receiving landfill):
- Waste resulting from a declared natural disaster such as a cyclone, bushfire or flood;
- Serious local event waste (by notification to Department of Environment and Science);
- Certain types of lawfully managed and transported asbestos waste (basically asbestos waste not mixed with other waste.). For example, asbestos mixed with soil and construction and demolition waste is not exempt under this category. However, asbestos bonded to materials such as in concrete are exempt. To be exempt the asbestos must be transported by a person licensed for transport of a regulated waste.
- Dredge spoil (testing required to show the spoil is not acid sulfate soils (ASS). Treated ASS is also excluded from the levy with testing).
- Clean earth (testing required to show the soil is not contaminated and not ASS. Contaminated soil remediated back to clean earth is exempt)
- Litter and illegally dumped waste collected by government, councils or forestry plantation licensees.
The following wastes are exempt by application:
- Waste received as part of charity donations that cannot practicably be re-used, recycled or sold;
- Litter and illegally dumped waste which is collected as part of a community activity;
- Waste necessary for the operation of a leviable waste disposal site, such as for building infrastructure, temporary or daily cover, progressive or final capping, batter construction, profiling and site rehabilitation;
- Some types of earth contaminated with a hazardous contaminant from land listed on the environmental management register or contaminated land register;
- Biosecurity waste; and
- Serious local event waste (extension of time request).
Exemptions can be applied for (for a fee up to $339.20) by completing application forms on the Queensland government website. If unsure how to complete these forms, you can engage a Suitably Qualified Consultant such as Environmental Earth Sciences to complete them on your behalf. Exemptions can take up to 30 days, although are currently being turn around much sooner. If your applications are filled out in correctly and DES require further clarification, the timeline begins again.
To avoid heartache at your waste disposal facility, Environmental Earth Sciences suggests requesting a ‘Waste Acceptance Letter’ from the receiving facility. This will allow the landfill to request any additional information they may need such as environmental testing to ensure you don’t get turn away at the weighbridge.
Levy costs will depend on your type of waste as shown in the table below. The levy is payable to the landfill as per your usual account requirements. Landfills will also add a levy management fee to the prices below.
|Type of waste||Levy rate (per tonne) in 2019-2020 financial year|
|Treated timber sawdust and shavings||$75|
|Earth contaminated with a hazardous contaminant from land recorded on the environmental management register or contaminated land register (unless under certain circumstances)||$75|
|Regulated waste: Category 1||$155|
|Regulated waste: Category 2||$105|
|Other levyable waste (generally all waste excluding exempt waste)||$75|
|Exemptions for specific waste||$0|
You will notice that incorrect classification of your waste can cost your project a significant amount of money. Furthermore, there are opportunities to save your project money by receiving a levy exemption or treating your waste to reduce its toxicity and potentially dropping its category from category 1 to category 2. Environmental Earth Sciences can provide advice in this area.
Where exemptions and classifications require most thought is with the characterisation of waste soil. The regulation outlines that sampling is to be completed by an appropriately qualified person. However, sampling ratios, analytical suites and statistical methods applied to the data will differ from project to project. Environmental Earth Sciences specialise in soil remediation and waste classification and can provide innovative solutions to waste soil management.