former Standing Council on Environment and Water

(incorporating the National Environment Protection Council)

EPHC Archive - Waste management

Caution: archived content

Information previously available on the Environment Protection and Heritage Council (EPHC) website ( is listed in this archive. These pages are no longer being maintained or updated but remain here as an archive for your information.

Waste management

Generally waste is any material or substance that is of no further use and has been discarded. If not properly managed, waste can have adverse impacts and pollute the environment. Disposing of waste which could be reused or recycled is a waste of resources, a lost opportunity and a waste of money.

 There are many different types of waste such as household waste, electronic waste and commercial waste. Wastes generated from commercial or industrial sources that are highly odorous or potentially hazardous require a higher level of control.

EPHC and NEPC have devoted considerable resources to waste management issues, particularly with respect to product stewardship.

The NEPC has made the Movement of Controlled Waste between States and Territories NEPM. This NEPM ensures that controlled wastes which are moved between States and Territories are properly identified, transported, and handled in ways that are consistent with environmentally sound practices.

The EPHC has developed a national approach to the reuse and recycling of industrial wastes, focusing primarily on their application to land.

Beverage Container Investigation

Litter management in Australia

Industrial residues

Some industrial residues are valuable for their soil conditioning and fertiliser properties, and by using them in this way they can contribute to the reduction of waste going to landfill. If appropriate reuse occurs, it may also facilitate government objectives in implementing improved waste management solutions to reduce the environmental impact of waste.

The Environment Protection and Heritage Council has developed a national approach to the reuse and recycling of industrial wastes, focusing primarily on their application to land. The national approach focuses on those materials generated at industrial facilities (such as bauxite residues, steel slag and fly ash), which may be considered for use as a fertiliser, soil ameliorant, soil conditioner and/or soil stabiliser in agriculture.

The national approach outlines:

  • criteria for determining whether a particular industrial residue is fit for reuse
  • supporting information that would be needed from proponents so that a determination can be made on the reuse of an industrial residue material.

National waste policy

National Waste Report 2010

The National Waste Report 2010 was launched on 7 May 2010.

The report presents key information on waste management and resource recovery and draws on a range of published sources, commissioned research and information from states and territories. It is the first step towards establishing baseline data and developing a comprehensive account of waste issues which can be used by industry, government and the community to make informed and timely decisions.

As well as presenting national, state and territory waste data, the report discusses: the costs and impacts of landfill; recycling; hazardous waste; organic waste and litter; and describes how we managed waste in the past, our current arrangements and emerging issues and trends. The report also examines the quality of our data on waste and recycling.

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