Implementation strategy for the Guideline: Better practice organics recycling

Frequently asked questions about organics recycling guideline.

The Guideline: Better practice organics recycling sets environmental performance objectives and identifies benchmark controls for the planning, design and operation of organics recycling facilities in Western Australia. 

The guideline applies to all existing organics recycling facilities that are prescribed premises and new applications for a works approval or licence for organics recycling facilities under Part V Division 3 of the Environmental Protection Act 1986.

Additional information is provided in the consultation summary report and the FAQs listed below. If you have any queries, please email us at info@dwer.wa.gov.au.

 

Frequently asked questions

What is the Guideline: Better practice organics recycling (organics recycling guideline) for?

The organics recycling guideline supports:

The organics recycling guideline sets environmental performance objectives (EPOs) and identifies benchmark controls for the planning, design and operation of organics recycling facilities.  Benchmark controls also help operators determine if their alternative controls can achieve the EPOs.

The organics recycling guideline will contribute to our sustainability and the protection of public health, amenity and the environment by helping prevent and minimise the potential for pollution and environmental harm.

Who is the organics recycling guideline for?

The organics recycling guideline is for all new and existing organics recycling facilities that are prescribed under Schedule 1 of the Environmental Protection Regulations 1987 (EP Regulations). This includes Category 61A solid waste facilities or Category 67A compost manufacturing and soil blending premises that recycle organic material or waste and meet, or exceed, the threshold of design or production capacity relevant to that category.

The organics recycling guideline applies to activities including aerobic composting (windrow, aerated static pile and in-vessel processes), anaerobic digestion and the chipping, grinding, and shredding of organic wastes.

It also supports operators of other premises to meet their obligations under the general provisions of the EP Act.

If you are uncertain whether your facility is a prescribed premises, please email us at info@dwer.wa.gov.au.

How will the department implement the organics recycling guideline?

Since coming into effect on 7 December 2022, the organics recycling guideline will be delivered in line with our regulatory approach to ensure consistent and effective implementation across new and existing organics recycling facilities. We recommend you review the guideline and consider how your operation aligns with the regulatory approach as set out in the document.

We are currently developing a procedure and supporting tools to help facilitate this. Industry consultation will play a key role in this process.

In the interim, we will assess all new applications against the benchmarks as set out within the organics recycling guideline. If you are planning on making an application before the procedure is released, please email us at info@dwer.wa.gov.au to request a scoping meeting.

Once the procedure is published, the supporting tools will assist:

  • new applications for organics recycling facilities to meet the benchmarks set by the guideline
  • the implementation of a self-assessment process for operators of Category 67A organics recycling facilities through an amendment of existing licences and works approvals.

How will the self-assessment process work?

We intend to initiate amendments to the licence or works approval of all existing organics recycling facilities that are prescribed under Category 67A in Schedule 1 of the EP Regulations. These amendments will follow our standard procedure – including consultation processes – as set out in the department’s Guideline: Industry regulation guide to licensing and Procedure: Prescribed premises works approvals and licences.

The amendments are expected to require each organics recycling facility occupier to self-assess their operation and demonstrate how they do or will achieve EPOs. We will prepare a staggered schedule for this self-assessment process and will consult with each organics recycling facility occupier prior to granting an amended licence or works approval.

What if I complete a self-assessment and cannot achieve EPOs?

EPO outcomes must be achieved, and occupiers can ensure they meet this requirement by using benchmark and/or alternative controls (as set out in the organics recycling guideline) throughout the self-assessment process.

We will support occupiers with appropriate timeframes to implement any controls and improvements required to ensure EPOs can be achieved.

Will there be other better practice guidelines?

Yes, we intend to develop and publish other industry specific better practice guidance consistent with the priorities and objectives of the Waste avoidance and resource recovery strategy 2030.

Further information about the potential future scope of better practice guidance is provided in the Environmental regulation reform: A strategic review of regulatory delivery and fees for industry regulation discussion paper.

How does publication of the organics recycling guideline affect my application?

Occupiers of organics recycling facilities who have a works approval, licence, or amendment application currently under assessment by the department

We will not formally assess applications received before publication of the organics recycling guideline against the EPOs and benchmark controls within the document. However, we will give regard to the guideline in our assessment and may take the benchmark controls into account when determining appropriate regulatory controls at premises.   

For more information on how publication of the guideline may impact a current application, please email us at info@dwer.wa.gov.au.

 

Occupiers of existing organics recycling facilities who are currently preparing a works approval or amendment application to implement changes at their premises

or

Occupiers proposing to construct or establish a new organics recycling facility and are currently preparing a works approval or licence application

We will assess works approval, licence and amendment applications received after publication of the organics recycling guideline against the EPOs and benchmark controls as outlined within the document. We recommend you review the guideline and consider how your new premises or planned changes align with the regulatory approach as set out within the guideline.

In addition, please email us at info@dwer.wa.gov.au to request a scoping meeting. This meeting will provide further clarity about how the guideline will inform our assessment of an application, and what supporting information an applicant should include to facilitate efficient and timely assessment.

Does the organics recycling guideline apply to organics recycling facilities that are not a prescribed premises due to production or design capacity falling below the threshold for a Category 61A and/or 67A premises in Schedule 1 of the EP Regulations?

Under Part V, Division 3 of the EP Act, the organics recycling guideline will only apply to organics recycling facilities that are prescribed premises.

However, if you undertake organics recycling at a facility that is not a prescribed premises, you are still subject to the general provisions of the EP Act. The organics recycling guideline can support you to meet your obligations under these general provisions.

Other decision-making authorities, such as local government authorities responsible for granting planning approvals, may also consider the organics recycling guideline as part of their assessment/s.

Page reviewed 16 January 2023