Resource recovery and waste classification

Resource recovery is using wastes as input material to create valuable products as new outputs. The intention is to irradicate waste and reduce the need for landfill space by reclassifying the waste, thereby revitalising and revaluing it into a useable product.

The efficient use of resources underpins the objective of resource recovery in NSW. It is shaped by a hierarchy of 3 priorities outlined in the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Act 2001: avoidance, resource recovery, and disposal. This hierarchy is most popularly known by the catchy phrase reduce, reuse and recycle.

At CESsoils, we have chosen to stand in revalue, regenerate and revitalise.CESsoils advocates the reuse of soil when the soil supplied can be fully verified from its source to the delivery site. Verification of recovered site soils has the potential to complement the manufactured soils market.

Commercial soils for landscaping and gardens made to Australian Standard (AS 4419, 2018) or composts, soil conditions and mulches (AS 4454: 2012 amendment 2018), or various quarry products come with quality control. Using a fully verifiable system for soil reuse will bridge a gap in community expectation and revalue soil as a commodity with tradable rights.

Resource recovery soils should be used within the scope of a resource recovery exemption. They must not lead to land degradation or breach the objectives of our environmental laws and regulations.

Placement into the landscape without concern for the rules to protect the environment can result in:

  • loss of habitat with significant impacts to water supply, drainage and infiltration
  • unintentional consequences and causing pollution
  • causing land degradation
  • a potential loss or property damage that is not trivial (NSW EPA, 1997)
  • expensive clean-up notices
  • contamination is noted on a property land title

In NSW, the EPA specify the chemical and other attributes, and characteristically all requirements listed for all sections one (1) through to (6) be met. By meeting all elements of a resource recovery order, you ensure that the soil or other recovered material is free of contamination without risk to health or the environment.

At CESsoils, we undertake the site management plan, testing and reporting for the verification and validation and waste classification according to the standards set by the EPA NSW under the Resource Recovery Order and Exemption.

Using wastes for land and soil application is good, but you will need approvals from your Council and validations showing test reports that the soils you want to use are not contaminated. CESsoils will ensure you have the testing and permissions to avoid contravention of environmental rules and regulations.