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Beneficial use approvals

Upcoming changes

Beneficial Use Approval (BUA) framework under Chapter 8 Waste Reduction and Recycling Act 2011 is being replaced by End of Waste (EOW) Framework. The change is due to take effect on 8 November 2016.

Details of the changes can be found at the following link - Changes to Beneficial Use Approvals.

The Waste Reduction and Recycling Act 2011 promotes higher resource recovery and recycling rates and aims to transform the perception of waste from being seen as ‘waste’ to being valued as a ‘resource’.

A waste can be approved as a resource if the department considers that it has a beneficial use other than disposal.

If a waste is approved as a resource, it is no longer considered a waste under s. 13 of Environmental Protection Act 1994.

What is a beneficial use approval

An approval of a resource for beneficial use (otherwise known as a beneficial use approval) is given where it is considered that a waste has a beneficial use. In approving a waste, conditions under which the resource is to be used are often imposed on the approval holder.

The guideline Approval of a resource for beneficial use—ESR/2015/1626 (formerly EM1719) (PDF, 67K) provides further information on:

  • beneficial use approvals including who can make an application;
  • when an application should be made;
  • how to make an application;
  • what is to be included in an application; and
  • amending or transferring an approval and cancellation or suspension of an approval.

NOTE: Beneficial use approvals are not related to environmental authorities issued for environmentally relevant activities under the Environmental Protection Act 1994. An environmental authority will still need to be obtained where required.

Wastes that can be approved

Only wastes that have a beneficial use can be approved. A beneficial use can be demonstrated in circumstances where:

  • the proposed use is conceptually proven in generally accessible information;
  • the proposed use occurs as an existing commercial activity;
  • there is an existing need or demand for the proposed use;
  • the use of the resource is ‘fit for purpose’; and
  • most of the resource is used beneficially without significant amounts of residual contaminants.

It is often not necessary for wastes other than regulated wastes (listed in Schedule 7 of the Environmental Protection Regulation 2008 (PDF)) to have an approval to be reused. It is important however to contact the department prior to making an application to help identify if any approvals are needed.

The following are some examples of wastes that can be approved as a resource:

  • Concrete washout wastes
  • Biosolids
  • Foundry sand
  • Fly/bottom ash and other coal combustion products
  • Coal seam gas water

Benefits of an approval

Approving a waste as a resource can have the following benefits:

  • Approvals relating to regulated waste are not required.
  • Costs of disposing the waste to landfill are reduced.
  • Costs of using raw materials are reduced.
  • Reuse of the waste may have a monetary value.

Types of beneficial use approvals

General approvals

General approvals are instigated and issued by the department and cannot be applied for. Anyone can operate under a general approval that has been issued provided they are using the resource in accordance with the conditions of the approval.

The following general beneficial use approvals have been issued:

The form Notification of use of a resource—ESR/2015/1638 (formerly EM1315) (Word, 106K)* should be submitted by persons wishing to operate under a general approval. In some approvals, it is a requirement that operators notify prior to starting or within a stated period under the approval.

Specific approvals

A specific approval is an approval of a resource of which only a stated person has the benefit. Specific approvals are those which a company or individual may apply for specifically relating to their proposed activity.

Amending or transferring an approval

The holder of a specific approval may apply to transfer or amend the approval at any time. A transfer application must contain the signed consent of the proposed transferee. An amendment application must state the amendment sought and the reasons for it. To make an application you need to submit the relevant forms and pay the relevant fee.

Draft general approvals open for comment

Draft general approval open for comment - Biosolids

The department proposes to grant a new general beneficial use approval to allow for the use of biosolids, and invites you to provide comments on the draft approval. Details of the proposed general approval and how to make a submission are included in the documents below. All comments must be submitted to the department in the template below prior to close of business on 12 October 2016.

General beneficial use approval – Sugar Mill By-Products

The department proposes to amend general approval ENBU01236210 General Approval of a resource for beneficial use – Sugar Mill By-Products. Any person who is acting under the current general approval is invited to make a submission. Details of the proposed amendments and how to make a submission are included in the documents below. All comments must be submitted to the department in the template below prior to close of business on 11 October 2016.

General beneficial use approval – Coal combustion products

The department proposes to amend general approval ENBU01043609 General Approval of a resource for beneficial use – Coal Combustion Products (CCPs). Any person who is acting under the current general approval is invited to make a submission. Details of the proposed amendments and how to make a submission are included in the documents below. All comments must be submitted to the department in the template below prior to close of business on 11 October 2016.

Making an application

Pre-design/pre-lodgement meetings

A pre-design/pre-lodgement meeting helps identify whether an application should be submitted and any issues relevant to a specific project. You are encouraged to participate in a pre-design/pre-lodgement meeting as it assists in reducing assessment times. To request a pre-design/pre-lodgement meeting, please complete and return the form Application for pre-lodgement services—ESR/2015/1664 (formerly EM1125) (Word, 115K)*.

Application forms

An application must include Part A and relevant Part B form below:

Application fees

An application must be accompanied by the prescribed fee in schedule 7 of the Waste Reduction and Recycling Regulation 2011. Fees have been categorised based on the proposed use of the resource. A summary of the relevant fees can be found in the guideline Approval of a resource for beneficial use—ESR/2015/1626 (formerly EM1719) (PDF, 67K).

Enquiries

Permit and Licence Management

Ph: 1300 130 372 (Option 4)
Fax: (07) 3330 5875

Email:

Review of decision

If you have been affected by a decision in relation to a BUA, you may have review rights. An internal review must be requested prior to pursuing a review from other external parties. Sections 174-179 of the Waste Reduction and Recycling Act 2011 detail the internal review process.

If you are eligible to request an internal review and you would like to have the decision reviewed, please complete and return the form Application for an internal review—ESR/2015/1633 (formerly EM1339) (Word, 110K)*.

Changes to Beneficial Use Approvals

Amendment of Chapter 8, Waste Reduction and Recycling Act 2011

This information contains details on the upcoming changes to Chapter 8 of the Waste Reduction and Recycling Act 2011 (WRR Act). These changes were passed through the Environmental Protection and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2014 (EPOLA) and will take effect on 8 November 2016.

Legislative changes

New changes to Chapter 8 of the Waste Reduction and Recycling Act 2011 (WRR Act) will come into effect on 8 November 2016. These changes might impact you if you are the holder of a current specific beneficial use approval (BUA) or are producing and/or using a resource under a current general BUA.

The upcoming changes will see the replacement of the existing BUA framework with the new 'End of Waste' (EOW) framework.

Details of the changes can be found in the Environmental Protection and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2014 (EPOLA), which is available on the Queensland Parliamentary Counsel website.

The EPOLA will replace the current general BUA framework with an ‘End of Waste Code’; and the specific approval with an ‘End of Waste Approval’.

Key changes

There will be a larger focus on ensuring that waste producers (person who generates the waste) produce higher quality wastes for use where possible. A higher quality waste will allow more reuse opportunities with less regulation.

Under the EOW framework, a waste is considered a resource at a single point in time after which it can be used without further restrictions. A person may use a waste as a resource under an end of waste code, or an end of waste approval.

End of waste codes

An EOW code acts in a similar manner to the current general approval. An operator may supply a waste as a resource under a code provided they have registered with the department and complied with the conditions of the code.

Codes will be developed where the department considers that a waste has properties that make it comparable to products that would otherwise be used, without requiring further regulation to prevent environmental harm resulting from the use.

Conditions will not be imposed by the department on users of a waste that has been deemed a resource. It will be the producer’s responsibility to ensure that the resource supplied to users is of a high quality and complies with the conditions of the code.

End of waste approvals

An EOW approval will be issued to a single holder for the purpose of trialling the use of a waste as a resource. The approval will be issued only for the length of time required to undertake the trial, with only one extension being granted if required. Based on the findings of the trial in relation to set criteria, such as benefits, sustainability and environmental best practice, the department will decide on whether the resource is appropriate to be approved under the EOW Code.

Obligation on the producer

Under the new provisions, the waste will be considered a resource after meeting a specified quality criteria prior to going to the end user. As such, it will be the producer's responsibility to ensure that the resource meets the required quality standards.

In order for a producer to supply a resource under an EOW code they must first be registered with the department. After becoming a registered producer, the resource may then be provided to users, where the conditions of the code have been met.

Summary of changes

  • The BUA framework allowing a waste to be used as a resource is being replaced by a new EOW system.
  • The new changes will be effective from 8 November 2016.
  • You can continue to operate under existing general and specific approvals up until the day they expire.
  • Conditions of EOW codes and approvals will apply to waste producers only—the waste must meet the quality requirements.
  • A producer wishing to provide a waste for reuse under the EOW code must be a registered resource producer.

Transition provisions

Under the transitional provisions in EPOLA, the resources approved under a current General Approval or a current Specific Approval can continue to be used as a resource for the specified uses until the end of the approval period (the period specified in the relevant Notice).

Any applications received prior to 8 November that have not been decided will lapse.

It will still remain an offence to not comply with a condition of an approval.

What next from here?

General approval

If you are producing, supplying or using a resource approved under a general approval, you can keep continuing with its use until the end of the approval period.

In future, the department will call for submissions annually for the development of codes. Wastes demonstrated to have benefits through sustainable use and negligible environmental risks will be considered for the codes. A technical panel may be established by the department for the development of a code which will go through a process of public consultation.

Specific approval

If you are using a resource approved under a specific approval, you can keep continuing with its use until the end of the approval period.

In future, the EOW approvals will be considered on a trial basis for resources for which a code has not been developed.

Additional information

New application forms and guidance material will be available on this page at commencement.

Details of fee changes associated with the EOW framework have not yet been confirmed. Information on the relevant fees will be provided on the department’s website when changes to the Waste Reduction and Recycling Regulation 2011 have been approved.

If you have any questions regarding the new changes please contact Waste and Contaminated Land Assessment on 13 QGOV (13 74 68), or by emailing enquiries to

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Last updated
13 September 2016