Business, industry and planning guidance

E-waste in Victoria


On this page:

  • Overview
  • E-waste storage in Victoria
  • E-waste reprocessing in Victoria
  • Useful links and resources
  • Q&A on e-waste in Victoria
  •  

    E-waste in Victoria

    Electronic waste (e-waste) is defined as waste in the form of electrical or electronic equipment, devices or things (or materials or parts of such equipment, devices or things), the operation of which is dependent on, or designed for the generation, transfer or measurement of, an electric current or electromagnetic field.

    This means any device that has a plug, battery or power cord that is no longer working or wanted. It includes a range of items we use and discard from our homes and businesses, for example televisions, computers, mobile phones, kitchen appliances, whitegoods, rechargeable batteries and photovoltaic panels.

    The Victorian Government has banned e-waste from landfill in Victoria, effective 1 July 2019. E-waste is growing up to three times faster than general municipal waste in Australia. This ban helps to address the risks and opportunities associated with this rapid rate of growth.

    More information about the ban can be found in the Waste Management Policy (E-waste) and on e-waste in Victoria (Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning).

E-waste must be separated from the storing, processing and disposal of other waste, as it can contain hazardous materials. These can harm human health and the environment. Also, valuable materials can be recovered for reuse from e-waste.

Both e-waste and processed e-waste materials must be handled and stored with due care to avoid leakage and the release of hazardous substances into air, water or soil.

E-waste storage in Victoria

E-waste storage in Victoria has information about storing e-waste to avoid leakages and hazardous substances being released into the air, water or soil.

This information is for businesses that store e-waste before it is transported to another facility for reprocessing. This includes local council transfer stations, resource recovery centres and other collection points for items like televisions, computers, mobile phones, batteries and lights.

E-waste reprocessing in Victoria

E-waste reprocessing in Victoria has information about legal and licensing requirements for the reprocessing of e-waste.

This information is for businesses that reprocess e-waste as part of their operation. 

Useful links and resources

Legislation

Guidance

Australian Standards and Codes

Other resources

  • Sustainability Victoria – information about the E-waste Infrastructure Support Program and resources like signage for resource recovery centres.
  • Sustainability Victoria – information about the public e-waste campaign.
  • Victorian Building Authority – information about the regulation of building construction, building standards and the maintenance of specific building safety features to protect the safety and health of people who use buildings.

Contact EPA about e-waste via email at contact@epa.vic.gov.au or call 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC).

 

Q&A on e-waste in Victoria + Expand all Collapse all

  • Where can I get guidance materials and more information?

    In addition to this website, existing publications which provide sound industry guidance are:

    The Australian Standard for e-waste, AS/NZS 5377:2013 also provides a clear direction for businesses.

    EPA will explore developing additional guidance materials over the coming months, based on industry needs.

    The Victorian Government has spoken to community and industry about managing e-waste in Victoria. The Managing e-waste in Victoria: Response to comments document summarises the issues, concerns and comments raised during the consultation. This consultation influenced the final design of the regulatory measures across Victoria and may also be helpful.

    Sustainability Victoria have been working with waste management industry groups and local councils for some time to assist them to understand the ban and how it will affect them.

  • What does enforcement look like?

    The new enforcement regime is set out under the Waste Management Policy (E-waste) and commences on 1 July 2019.

    Any person involved in e-waste activities as set out under the Waste Management Policy (E-waste) must take all reasonable steps to eliminate or reduce the risk to human health and the environment.

    The measures taken to ensure compliance with the policy will be different for each business, location and situation. As Victoria’s environmental regulator, EPA will be taking a risk-management approach to enforcing compliance. The initial focus will be on sites with a high risk of waste stockpiling, which is a potential fire risk.

  • When will EPA begin to enforce compliance?

    EPA has already issued licences to a number of e-waste facilities that have the capacity to reprocess more than 500 tonnes of specified electronic waste per year and consequently trigger the EPA’s Environment Protection (Scheduled Premises) Regulations 2017. It is expected that these sites are compliant with their licence together with other regulatory requirements and will form the basis of the initial compliance program from 1 July 2019. All non-compliances will be assessed against EPA’s Compliance and Enforcement Policy.

  • Is there a ‘phased’ compliance program?

    There is not a phased compliance program.

    Compliance is required by duty holders at all times. Any potential enforcement activities would be in accordance with our Compliance and Enforcement Policy.

    Duty holders have an obligation to minimise the risk of harm from pollution and waste and EPA will continue to engage with the sector on a risk-based approach as required.

  • Do all businesses collecting e-waste have to comply with the policy? What if I don’t have an enclosed shed?

    All sites collecting e-waste will need to store e-waste in compliance with the Waste Management Policy (E-waste). Each site is unique and sites will need to understand and control their risks accordingly.

    For more information on assessing risk on your site please refer to Assessing and controlling risk: A guide for business (publication 1695).

  • Can we mix e-waste? Can TVs be mixed with hairdryers and toasters?

    E-waste can be mixed with other types of e-wastes or other types of waste provided it does not prevent recovery. For example, TVs, computers and toys may be collected together if your reprocessor is able to receive and recover these materials.

  • Are toys with minor electrical components considered e-waste?

    Products with minor electrical components, such as toys, are e-waste. Therefore, the requirements for understanding, mitigating and managing the risks for these products are the same as the requirements for e-waste.

  • We need to temporarily close our public drop-off centre and can’t provide an alternative site. Will this be an issue?

    EPA recommends that councils communicate any closure of their collection facilities and the options available for residents or businesses during the closure to minimise the risk of illegal disposal.

  • Do I need a waste transport certificate to transport e-waste to a licensed e-waste facility?

    EPA does not consider that a waste transport certificate is required for e-waste.

    The Waste Management Policy (E-waste) will govern the way e-waste is tracked across Victoria.

  • Should I measure the quantity of material that is being reused, or the quantity that is collected?

    The Waste Management Policy (E-waste) outlines that any person who is responsible for reprocessing e-waste is required to keep records documenting the weight of incoming e-waste, together with the material recovery rate for each financial year (among other requirements). EPA can request these records to ensure compliance with the Policy.

  • What should landfill operators do when e-waste is received into the landfill?

    From 1 July 2019, e-waste will be banned from landfill in Victoria and will need to be managed in accordance with the Waste Management Policy (E-waste).

    The landfill ban of e-waste is reflected in a Variation to Waste Management Policy (Siting, Design and Management of Landfills). This variation prohibits the deposit of e-waste in landfills unless dispersed in negligible quantities in other waste streams.

    Landfill operators must have appropriate controls at a landfill to minimise the deposit of e-waste in landfills.

    Guidance for landfill waste acceptance is provided in Section 7.4 of the best practice environmental management (BEPM) Siting, design, operation and rehabilitation of landfills (publication 788).

  • Who is responsible for non-compliant sites?

    Duty holders will be held to account for breaches of the Waste Management Policy (E-waste) and Environment Protection Act 1970. Remedial notices may be issued to the duty holder to ensure the site becomes compliant. All non-compliances identified will be assessed against EPA’s Compliance and Enforcement Policy.

  • Where can I take my household e-waste?

    As e-waste is banned to landfill, it can’t be disposed of in your landfill bin.

    For household e-waste drop off locations, please contact Sustainability Victoria.

  • How to safely dispose of my domestic smoke alarms?

    Domestic smoke alarms can be disposed in normal household rubbish.  Domestic smoke alarms are not included in the e-waste requirements that came into force on 1 July 2019.  Disposing of smoke alarms in normal domestic rubbish does not contravene the e-waste disposal requirements. They must not be crushed, shredded or dismantled in anyway as some contain a small amount of radioactive material.

Page last updated on 27 Jun 2019