Waste Levy Information

The Queensland Government introduced a levy on waste going to landfill from 1 July 2019.

The levy is part of a new waste strategy for Queensland to increase recycling and resource recovery and reduce waste. The levy will encourage Queenslanders to reduce, reuse and recycle more, only sending waste to landfill if it cannot be recovered.

The levy will not affect residents putting out their domestic kerbside wheelie-bins.

Why have a waste levy?

The waste levy aims to:

  • reduce waste to landfill
  • encourage waste avoidance
  • provide a source of funding to enable better resource recovery practices
  • provide certainty and security of feedstocks for advanced technology
  • facilitate industry investment in resource recovery infrastructure.

Between 2019 and 2022, it is expected that 70% of revenue generated through the waste levy will be allocated to advance payments to councils, scheme start-up and operational costs, industry programs and other environmental priorities.

All waste going to landfill in Queensland will incur the relevant levy rate unless the waste is both generated and disposed of in the non-levy zone. There are exemptions for some specific types of waste, such as waste that results from a declared disaster.

Who pays the levy?

Landfill operators (local councils and private businesses) pay the levy to the Queensland Government based on the amount of waste disposed of to landfill.

Disposal of waste for the purposes of the waste levy is any activity that is required to be licensed under the EP Act for waste disposal (ERA60). View the requirements for waste disposal site operators for more information.

Landfill operators will make a business decision on if and how the levy is passed through to their customers.

No direct impact on households

The Queensland Government has committed to ensuring the levy has no direct impact on households. To deliver this, councils will receive annual payments to offset the costs of the waste levy. The formula for calculating these annual payments is set out in the regulation.

There are many Queensland households who have commercial waste collection services which are not covered by this arrangement. Some examples may include caravan parks, manufactured home parks, retirement villages, boarding houses, crisis accommodation, gated communities and rural residents with commercial bulk-waste arrangements. To ensure all households are not directly impacted by the levy, the department is working on developing an assistance scheme, to offset the cost of the levy for residents in these types of accommodation.

Levy rates

The waste levy will apply to general waste streams - municipal solid waste, commercial and industrial waste, and construction and demolition waste.

The waste levy for all classifications is proposed to increase by $5 on 1 July each year.

Type of waste

Levy rate (per tonne) as of 1 July 2021

Treated timber sawdust and shavings $85
Earth contaminated with a hazardous contaminant from land recorded on the environmental management register or contaminated land register $85
Regulated waste: Category 1 $165
Regulated waste: Category 2 $115
Other levyable waste $85
Exemptions for specific waste $0

Exempt waste

Some waste may be exempt from the waste levy, either by automatic exemption or by approval from the Department of Environment and Science. Exempt waste will not incur the levy.

A full list of exempt waste categories and criteria can be found in the waste levy legislation.

Exempt waste – by definition

Some waste types are automatically exempt from the levy under section 26 of the Act, and do not require an application, including:

  • waste resulting from a State Government declared natural disaster such as a cyclone, bushfire or flood
  • serious local event waste (by notification)
  • certain types of lawfully managed and transported asbestos waste
  • dredge spoil
  • clean earth
  • litter and illegally dumped waste collected by government, councils or forestry plantation licensees
  • other exempt waste prescribed in section 8 of the Regulation.

Exempt waste – by application

Other exemptions are available on application under section 28 of the Act —these include:

  • waste received as part of charity donations that cannot practicably be re-used, recycled or sold (application by charity)
  • litter and illegally dumped waste which is collected as part of a community activity (application by event holder)
  • waste necessary for the operation of the levyable waste disposal site, such as for building infrastructure, temporary or daily cover, progressive or final capping, batter construction, profiling and site rehabilitation (application by Council)
  • some types of earth contaminated with a hazardous contaminant from land listed on the environmental management register or contaminated land register (application by disposers)
  • biosecurity waste (application by Biosecurity)
  • serious local event waste (extension of time request, application by Council).

Exemption approval holders must present an exemption certificate and exemption code when delivering this type of waste to the waste disposal site. The waste disposal site operator must record the exempt waste number in the gate transaction record.

Find Out More

Visit www.qld.gov.au/waste-disposal-levy for more on Queensland's waste levy.