EPA GED Fire Risks

Factory fire
- Image source ABC news

The 2018 West Footscray Factory Fire was a major incident during the creation of the EPA GED, with significant human health and environmental impacts. Multiple charges were laid in the aftermath and the EPA has been hot on fire risks ever since.

If your business manages or stores combustible recyclable and waste material, you must understand your risks, your duties, adopt controls and hold the necessary EPA licences, permits or registrations.

In July 2021, EPA published a Guideline for the management and storage of combustible recyclable and waste materials. If you store these materials, the Guideline applies to you:

• paper and cardboard

• wood

• plastic

• rubber, tyres, and tyre-derived waste

• textiles

• green waste / organic material

• refuse-derived fuel

• electronic waste

• metal and other materials with combustible contaminants

• combustible by-products of metal processing activities

Under the GED legislation, this document becomes the first point of reference for EPA when inspecting your site/s. A failure to understand and implement the processes and controls in this document could lead to a fine or other compliance action.

The Guideline also sets out the types of EPA ‘permission’ (an EPA licence, permit or registration) you may need to manage and store combustible recyclable and waste materials. This will depend on the amount of waste you receive and process. There are threshold limits for each permission type. Most importantly, the lowest level ‘permission’, called a registration is required if your business stores over 5 cubic meters of combustible material on a site at any one time.

If your business manages or stores combustible waste you must become familiar with your obligations under this guideline. If you do not currently meet the relevant standards set out in the Guideline, you need a plan to get there.

You will need an EPA licence, permit or registration if your business stores over 5 cubic meters of combustible material on a site at any one time.

Contact GEDedge for help.

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