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How Should I Dispose of Asbestos Waste?

Are you dealing with asbestos waste and wondering how to properly dispose of it? In this article, we will guide you through the process of safely getting rid of asbestos waste.

Asbestos is a hazardous material that requires special handling and disposal procedures to protect both your health and the environment.

So, let's learn more about the classification for asbestos waste, whether or not you can put it in your regular bin, and what exactly constitutes hazardous waste when it comes to asbestos. 

What Is The Classification For Asbestos Waste?

When it comes to asbestos waste, understanding its classification is essential. Asbestos waste is typically divided into two categories: friable and non-friable. 

Friable Asbestos

Friable asbestos refers to materials that are easily crumbled or reduced to powder by hand pressure when dry. These are considered higher risk because the fibres can become airborne and pose a significant hazard if inhaled. Examples of friable asbestos include insulation, pipe lagging, and sprayed coatings.

Non-friable asbestos

Non-friable asbestos on the other hand, is more solid and less likely to release fibres into the air unless disturbed. Common non-friable asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) include vinyl tiles, cement sheets, and roofing shingles.

It's crucial to properly identify the type of asbestos waste you're dealing with as different disposal methods apply for each category.

Friable asbestos generally requires professional removal and specialised disposal due to its high-risk nature. Non-friable ACMs may be able to be managed safely through proper handling procedures.

Remember, accurate classification of your asbestos waste will help ensure that it is handled correctly throughout the entire disposal process — from packaging all the way through transport and final treatment or containment at an approved facility.

Can I Put Asbestos Waste In My Household Bin?

Quick answer: No, you cannot put asbestos waste in your household bin

When it comes to disposing of asbestos waste, it's important to handle it properly to ensure the safety of yourself and others. One question that often arises is whether or not you can simply put asbestos waste in your regular household bin. The answer is a resounding no.

Asbestos waste is classified as hazardous material due to its potential health risks. It contains microscopic fibres that, when released into the air, can be inhaled and cause serious illnesses like lung cancer and mesothelioma. Therefore, it cannot be disposed of in the same way as your everyday trash.

Instead, proper procedures must be followed for the disposal of asbestos waste. Most jurisdictions have specific regulations in place regarding its removal and disposal and the HSE has guidelines too[1].

It's crucial not only for your own safety but also for the environment that asbestos waste is handled correctly. Improper disposal can lead to contamination of soil and water sources, posing a risk to both humans and wildlife.

How Should I Dispose of Asbestos?

It is crucial to handle asbestos waste properly due to its hazardous nature. Asbestos has been linked to serious health risks such as lung cancer and mesothelioma. Therefore, it is essential to follow the correct procedures when disposing of asbestos waste.

Depending on the type of asbestos you are dealing with there are a few different methods of disposal available to you.

Non-friable asbestos can simply be taken to your local waste management centre should they accept it, ensuring that you have double bagged with asbestos waste bags (putting the asbestos first into the red bag, then double bagging with a clear bag) and taped up to prevent accidental leakage. 

Some skip hire companies also allow you to put it in their skips, which they will then remove for you. Before doing so you should check the company in question is properly licensed to ensure it is all done correctly.

Friable asbestos on the other hand poses a much greater risk to your health and the environment. Typically, this form of asbestos involves hiring a licensed professional who specialises in handling asbestos materials to safely remove and dispose of them according to local guidelines.

References 

[1] – HSE – Asbestos FAQs

The content on this page/article was last updated on the 6th December 2023 by our team and was reviewed and fact checked by William Wright, DipNEBOSH on the 6th December 2023.

William is a qualified health & safety consultant who holds NEBOSH & IOSH certifications.