Environment Protection Agency (EPA) polices South Australia's waste management targets
EPA (Environment Protection Authority) South Australia officers ensuring compliance at a waste management depot.
Led by South Australia’s EPA (Environment Protection Authority), the state’s first jail sentence for illegal waste dumping was imposed in the environment, resources and development court in 2016. After pleading guilty to 12 counts of unlawful disposal of waste and for failing to comply with an Environment Protection Order, the offender was sentenced to four months and two weeks in prison, suspended for two years with a $100 good-behaviour bond. The offender was also ordered to pay $44,000 in clean-up costs as well as the Victims of Crime Levy.
In 2016-17, 346 reports of illegal dumping were received by the EPA that issued environment protection orders redirecting more than 40,000 tonnes of illegally deposited waste into the legitimate waste depots. Using regulations going back to 1993, the EPA protects the economic, social and environmental objectives of the state.
The EPA grants and oversees licences for waste depots, including inspecting waste transport vehicles. Landfill guidelines introduced in 2007 spelt out conditions on aspects such as capacity and site. These guidelines improved landfill management and some waste management operators closed small older landfills and used well-managed regional depots to satisfy modern environmental standards.
The South Australian government’s levy on waste going to landfill, projected to rise of $103 a tonne in 2019-20, goes into a revenue pool that is distributed as 45% to the EPA, 50% to the Green Industry Fund used by Green Industries SA, and 5% to the Environment Protection Fund. Resource recovery has increased from around 2 million tonnes in 2003-04 to almost four million tonnes in 2015-16 – an increase from around 60% in 2003-04 to 81.5% in 2015-16. This is Australia’s highest resource recovery rate.
Total waste to landfill for 2015-16 was 889,500 tonnes, a 29% drop on 2002-03 levels. South Australia’s strategic plan set a target of reducing waste to landfill by 35% by 2020.