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What can Clean-fill Skip bins be used for?

News > What can Clean-fill Skip bins be used for?

Clean-fill Skip bins are one way to save on tipping fees so what is clean-fill?

Clean-fill Skips bins are for VENM
Does this look like Clean-Fill

Clean-fill is one term used to refer to VENM or Virgin Excavated Natural Material.  VENM is so named and it aims to describe excavate material that has not been dug up before and is clean of any contaminants that would not occur naturally in the material. VENM is a term that has been defined in the law (at least in NSW under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (POEO Act) as"

‘natural material (such as clay, gravel, sand, soil or rock fines):

(a) that has been excavated or quarried from areas that are not contaminated with manufactured chemicals, or with process residues, as a result of industrial, commercial, mining or agricultural activities and

(b) that does not contain any sulfidic ores or soils or any other waste

and includes excavated natural material that meets such criteria for virgin excavated natural material as may be approved for the time being pursuant to an EPA Gazettal notice.’

This is a definition that aims to ensure that material that is contaminate by industrial or agricultural activities cannot be moved or used unknowingly. Arounud Sydney and other NSW locations there has been a lot of contamination from industry (mining and manufacturing) and agriculture that has left the soil usuable and hazardous for any use arounf residential or recrerational areas. This especially so in Sydney where many harbourside suburbs in western sydney have problems with soils and clays that are laced with heavy metals and other chemicals.

Your abilitiy to find Clean-Fill Skips bins is often limited to areas that are lucky enough to have facilities that are available to accept VENM and recycle it so it can be recycled and is available to be used as top soil, fill, gravel, sand or fines and aggregates (rock). The reality is that if there are no recycling facilities then the excavated materials can only be disposed of as heavy waste where the customer has to pay a significant amount more to get rid of the materials plus the hefty waste levy or landfill tax that is likely to exist in the state.

In many locations around Australia clean fill is a term used in a broader sense to refer to material that can be recycled and resold as it is not comtaminated with materials or chemicals that will make it harmful to others. In some locations the definition of clean-fill might vary a little because the recycling facilities available will allow harmless contaminants to be removed to leaving soil of dirt that can be used for landscaping purposes. In some locations around Australia clean-fill can still be acceptable even it there are amounts of bricks or concrete in the soil.

In stricter areas, clean-fill can only contain natural materials and if there is any brick, concrete or other man made materials in the soil or dirt then it will be rejected as not clean-fill. This happens a lot around the Sydney metropolitan area as too many recyclers have fallen victimn to unscrupolous builders and waste removal businesses who were willing to take comtaminated materials and try andf pass them off as clean soil.  The other problem for recycling businesses is chemical contamination. Often is areas where there was heavy engineering or manufacturing and all soil is considered contaminated unless you have a test certificate to prove otherwise.  In locations like central Wollongong this is likely the case.

There are also new issues arising that are hindering recycling and hence the availablitiy of reasonably priced Clean-Fill Skip Bins for disposing of soil, sand and excavated rocks. In NSW the State Government's EPA (Environmental Protection Authority) has brought in stricter rules for the processing of recycled materials. The EPA requires that resource recovery (transfer stations) sites have a weighbridge and video monitoring facilities installed so that they can be monitored by the EPA more rigourously. The EPA has also introduced limits on the stock holding of recycled materials which when exceeded results in the recycling business being forced to pay waste levies on the excess stock.  As their are little or no requirements or incentives for businesses or government to use recycled materials where available this makes the recycling industry an even more procarious industry to be invovled in.  At the end of the first quarter 2918 it appears as if the NSW government are killing off recycling initives rather than encouraging them. A worrying turn of events for ecologically interested people who wants to see environmental improvements to contribute to better environmental outcomes.






  • Authored By:Stephen Shergold
  • Updated:29/03/2018