A new large-scale waste and recycling plant, which would receive up to one million tonnes of materials a year, is planned for Fyshwick.
Hi-Quality Group wants to build a waste-management hub on land off Tennant Street, just east of Fyshwick's Domayne and Bunnings outlet.
The firm's proposed "multi-operational" hub would include a recycling plant and individual processing facilites for wood, soil and liquid waste. A crushing and screening centre and concrete plant are also planned for the site.
Plans to build recycling plants in Fyshwick have proven contentious in the past, with Capital Recycling Solutions last year forced to abandon its proposed $400 million waste-to-energy centre amid opposition from the community and ACT Greens.
The company is now eyeing a recycling plant at its base off Ipswich Street, which it said could divert up to 300,000 tonnes a year of rubbish from landfill.
A Greens spokeswoman said the party was unaware of the details of Hi-Quality Group's proposal, but wanted to ensure that only sustainable waste and recycling methods were used in the ACT. Hi-Quality Group's hub would not involve burning waste to create electricity.
ACT planning officials on Thursday signed off on the group's request to prepare a draft environmental impact statement as the first step towards gaining approval for the proposal. Documents accompanying the approval notice show the planning directorate, ACT Health, ACT No Waste and Canberra Airport have helped set out the requirements of the study after reviewing the proposal.
Their feedback suggests the proposal would involve the transportation of waste to the site for processing, including via "wood burning activities". About one million tonnes of material would be delivered to the site each year, according to the planning directorate.
ACT Health said the environmental study would need to include further information on the "proposed wood chipping and air burning".
The department said given the "scale of complexity of the proposal", and its proximity to food and retail businesses, the company should be forced to undertake a formal health-impact assessment as part of its study.
Canberra Airport, which was consulted due to its proximity to the Tennant Street site, said it supported recycling, but was concerned about the nature of Hi-Quality Group's proposal.
"Our concern with this facility would be the air burner units and although it may be proven technology, there is at least one at the Canberra recyclers complex at Pialligo, which has proven to be problematic with at least one fire to an adjacent and nearby timber stacks," the airport's feedback stated.
"We would expect the future use of this facility to have conditions regarding dust and other emissions due to the proximity to Domayne, Bunnings and other industrial uses in Fyshwick that are very open to public viewing."
ACT NoWaste raised concerns about the plant's workers being exposed to hazardous waste, and recommended Hi-Quality Group's study include a "rigorous and detailed" analysis of the risk.
A spokewoman for the ACT Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate said the community would be consulted throughout the preparation of the study.
The company has 18 months to present a full environmental impact statement to the ACT government for assessment, she said.
Hi-Quality Group - which did not return calls from The Canberra Times - runs a diverse operation, which includes quarrying, waste management and property development.
It has 12 operational sites in NSW, Victoria and Queensland.