Trade measurement laws regulate the retail and wholesale sale of garden landscape materials.
You may sell loose garden landscape materials in any one of three ways:
- by volume
- by weight
- by lot (such as a heap, truck/trailer load or loader bucket).
Garden landscape material includes:
- pebbles and river stones
- crushed tile
- crushed rock
- pine bark
- pacific coral
- crushed material mix
- any similar substance used in gardens.
If you charge handling fees or surcharges for small quantities of material, you must clearly display a sign of these fees or let the customer know before they make their purchase.
If you sell a smaller quantity than the full unit of measurement—per tonne, for example—you must base the price on the full unit price. Prices can be different for smaller quantities if you clearly display or advertise the costs.
Selling by volume
Volume is the most common way to sell garden landscape materials. To sell by volume, you must measure the material in cubic metres (m3) and can use, for example:
- a bucket on a loader, where that bucket has been verified by a servicing licensee to hold a specific volume
- a trailer, truck body or rigid measuring container that can be measured using a verified measuring tape.
Selling by weight
You can sell garden landscape materials by the tonne (t) or kilogram (kg). The weight must be determined using an NMI approved weighing instrument or verified weighbridge.
Selling by lot
If you sell garden landscape materials by the lot (such as heap, truck or trailer load or loader bucket), you must not advertise or label it by referring to volume or weight.
Pre-packaged garden landscape material
If you sell pre-packaged garden landscape materials, you must:
- label each package with the weight or volume
- label each package with the name and street address of the packer (unless you pack them on the same premises where you sell them)
- only display the net weight of the material (do not include the weight of any packaging)
- allow for any reduction in weight due to moisture-loss so the package displays an accurate weight/volume at the time of sale.
If 45 packages or fewer have a total weight of 1 t (that is, each package weighs more than 22 kg), you can label the package in terms of the number of packages that make up 1 t (e.g. 25 bags to the tonne).
You must make the weight/volume statement:
- clear to read, at least 2 mm from the edge of the principal display panel and at least 2 mm from other graphics
- in the same direction as the brand or product name
- in a colour that provides a distinct contrast with the colour of the background.
Pre-packaged garden landscape materials can only be sold by volume (litres) if packed in accordance with Australian Standard AS4454-2012.
Read the Guide to the sale of pre-packaged goods to find out more.
You don’t need to mark label packages which exceed 150 L or 75 kg with a net measurement.
Certain pre-packaged garden landscape materials are exempt from labelling requirements, regardless of package size, these include:
- pine bark feature mix
- pine bark nuggets
- pre-planted mushroom spawn
- tree bark and articles that contain compost
- farmyard manure
- garden peat
- leaf mould
- peat and sphagnum moss
- other similar substances.
Using weighing equipment
If you use weighing equipment, such as a scale or weighbridge, to sell garden landscape material, you must ensure that:
- the National Measurement Institute (NMI) has approved your type of equipment
- the equipment is properly installed and verified by a servicing licensee
- you and your staff use the equipment in the correct manner (e.g. level and indicating zero before use)
- you position the equipment so that the customer can easily see the weighing process (if not, you must provide a written statement of the weight)
- you keep the equipment clean and in good working order
- a servicing licensee verifies the equipment after each repair or adjustment.
You are responsible for making sure the equipment is correct at all times.
We recommend that you have all your weighing equipment checked regularly by a technician licensed by NMI (servicing licensee). For a list of servicing licensees, email email@example.com.
Regulating the sale of landscape materials
NMI employs trade measurement inspectors throughout Australia. We regularly inspect landscape material to ensure they are measuring correctly and that sellers are following the correct procedure.
If an inspector finds that you are short-measuring your customers, you could be fined up to $222,000 per offence.