Healthy Environment, Healthy Community, Healthy Business

Environment Protection Authority

Environmental Issues

Waste and recycling

Energy recovery facilities

The thermal treatment of waste provides an opportunity to recover the embodied energy from waste, offset the use of non-renewable energy sources, and avoid methane emissions from landfill.

NSW Energy from Waste Policy Statement

Facilities in NSW proposing to thermally treat waste or waste-derived materials for the recovery of energy must comply with the NSW Energy from Waste Policy Statement (PDF 236KB). The policy statement outlines the policy framework and technical criteria that apply to these facilities.

Energy recovery must represent the most efficient use of the resource and be achieved with no increase in the risk of harm to human health or the environment. To ensure emissions are below levels that may pose a risk of harm to the community, facilities proposing to recover energy from waste need to meet current international best practice techniques, particularly with respect to:

  • process design and control
  • emission control equipment design and control
  • emission monitoring with real-time feedback to the controls of the process.

Scope of the policy statement

The policy statement covers all facilities undertaking the thermal treatment of any waste or waste-derived materials, where thermal treatment means the processing of wastes by combustion, thermal oxidation, thermal or plasma gasification, pyrolysis and torrefaction.

Some thermal treatment applications fall outside the scope of the policy statement because they are not considered to be undertaking genuine energy recovery:

  • incineration facilities for the destruction of waste
  • facilities for the thermal treatment of contaminated soil
  • facilities proposing the thermal treatment of unprocessed mixed waste streams
  • facilities proposing the thermal treatment of waste that has been exhumed from landfills
  • facilities proposing the thermal treatment of hazardous waste materials.
  • Other thermal treatment applications fall outside the scope of the policy statement because the technical or resource recovery criteria contained within the statement are not relevant to them, or other regulatory frameworks already apply.

Energy Recovery Facility Guidelines

The Energy Recovery Facility Guidelines will be published in early 2017.

More information

  • Energy from waste policy
  • Contact Environment Line on 131 555 or email info@environment.nsw.gov.au
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    Page last updated: 20 December 2016