Hazardous Waste and Electronic Waste
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral found in the surface of the earth. It is a naturally occurring mineral rock made up of strong fibres that have fire, heat and chemical resistant properties. It contains strong fibres that have durability, fire resistance and insulating properties.
Asbestos was mined in Australia for over 100 years and Australia was the world’s highest user per capita of asbestos in the 1950s.
Asbestos is a generic term for a number of fibrous silicate minerals. There are two major groups of asbestos. The serpentine group contains chrysotile, commonly referred to as white asbestos. The amphibole group contains amosite (brown asbestos) crocidolite (blue asbestos) as well as some other less common types, which are tremolite, actinolite, and anthophylite.
Prohibitions on asbestos use, reuse or sale
The use of all forms of asbestos is no longer permitted. The use of all types of amphibole group was banned in the mid-1980s, and the manufacture and use of products containing chrysotile was prohibited nationally from 31 December 2003.
The Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 does not allow the use (including the reuse) or sale of any asbestos material.
What was asbestos used for?
The asbestos fibres were used as a bonding and filling material in a large range of products. Best known for its heat retardant capacity, asbestos is used in such products as wall linings (internal and external), roof sheeting, vehicle brake pads, floor tiles, vinyl flooring and assorted gaskets. Lagging material containing asbestos was also commonly used over the years to insulate heating ducts and water pipes in homes, offices, industrial buildings and ships.
Asbestos was manufactured into many different items. Asbestos-containing materials were used extensively in Australian buildings and structure, plant and equipment in ships, trains and motor vehicles during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, and some uses, including some friction materials and gaskets, were only discontinued on 31st December 2003. Materials containing asbestos were very common in the Australian residential building industry between the 1940s and late 1980s before their production stopped.
Bonded and Friable Asbestos.
There are two types of material used in housing construction that contain asbestos:
Bonded (Tightly Bound) Asbestos
Bonded materials containing asbestos are the most common in domestic houses. They are mainly made up of a bonding compound (such as cement), with up to 15% to 40% asbestos fibres. Bonded materials containing asbestos are solid, quite rigid and the asbestos fibres are tightly bound in the sheeting. They are commonly called ‘fibro’, ‘asbestos cement’ or ‘AC sheeting’. Some of this asbestos sheeting can be in the form of corrugated roofing material with shallow or deep corrugations.
Broken bonded asbestos can expose asbestos fibres at the edges of the broken pieces and must be treated with extreme care.
Loosely Bound (Friable) Asbestos
Loosely bound materials containing asbestos are not commonly found in domestic houses. They were primarily used in commercial and industrial settings for fire proofing, sound proofing and insulation. However, they can be found in some old domestic heaters, stoves, hot water systems and associated pipe lagging and in backing of vinyl and linoleum floor coverings.
These materials can be made of up to 100% asbestos. They are quite loose and can be turned to dust with very light pressure, such as crushing with your hand. Loosely bound materials containing asbestos are very dangerous as the asbestos fibres can get into the air very easily.
Different standards and requirements for handling apply to bonded and friable asbestos material.
What are the dangers of asbestos?
Asbestos fibres are 50 to 200 times thinner than a human hair, can float in the air for a long time, can be invisible to the naked eye and can be breathed into the lungs.
Asbestos in asbestos fibres can cause asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma. The risk of contracting these diseases increases with the number of fibres inhaled and the risk of lung cancer from inhaling asbestos fibres is also greater if you smoke. People who get health problems from inhaling asbestos fibres have usually been exposed to high levels of asbestos for a long time. The symptoms of these diseases do not usually appear until about 20 to 30 years after the first exposure to asbestos.
Do I have materials containing asbestos in my house?
It can be difficult to tell whether your home has materials containing asbestos just by looking at it.
As a general rule, if your house was built:
- Before the mid 1980s, it is highly likely that it would have materials containing asbestos.
- Between the mid 1980s and 1990, it is likely that it would have materials containing asbestos.
- After 1990, it is highly unlikely it would have materials containing asbestos.
If you are not sure that a material contains asbestos play it safe and assume that it does. To definitely identify that an item contains asbestos it is necessary to obtain advice from an occupational hygienist, an environmental consultant or get the material tested by a NATA registered laboratory.
Demolitions and renovations where asbestos material is present.
Any development, including any renovations or demolitions, involving asbestos material removal must be undertaken by a person who carries on a business that is licensed under Clause 485 and 487 of the Work Health & Safety Regulation 2011. An exception to this requirement is where less than 10 square metres of bonded asbestos (i.e. in sheet form) is being removed.
Where asbestos is to be removed during renovation or demolition projects the extent of the existence of asbestos is to be detailed in any Development Application or Applications for Complying Development Certificates for that work.
The demolition of buildings work must comply with the Australian Standard AS2601-2001 The demolition of structures.
The following websites contain useful information on identifying and dealing with asbestos, including the dos and donts of handling asbestos materials in the home
Who can remove asbestos material (bonded asbestos under 10 square metres)?
Any person who is involved with the removal of not more than 10 square metres of bonded (non friable) material in the form of ‘fibro’, ‘asbestos sheeting”, asbestos roofing material, or “AC sheeting” must take special care in respect to their own safety precautions and the safety of others.
There are specific ways to remove this material and before commencing any of this type of work (even with small areas such as 10 square metres) you should seek expert advice as to the manner in which the work should be performed, the special personal protection equipment that should be utilised, the precautions to be taken to protect the safety of others, the method of storage, transport and disposal.
It is strongly advised that a home owner engage the services of a suitably licensed contractor to carry out the asbestos removal work, irrespective of the amount involved. If you decide to remove less than 10 square metres of asbestos materials yourself go to www.asbestosawareness.com.au to find out about safe removal of asbestos.
Who can remove asbestos material (bonded asbestos over 10 square metres or other asbestos material)? (Licensing requirements for asbestos removals)
Work involving bonded (non friable) asbestos removal work (of an area of more than 10 square metres) or friable asbestos removal work must be undertaken by a person who carries on a business of such removal work in accordance with a licence under clause 485 of the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011.
A signed contract with a licensed person should be obtained prior to the commencement of any work involving asbestos material.
Any contract with a licensed person must indicate whether any bonded asbestos material or friable asbestos material will be removed, and if so, must specify the landfill site (that may lawfully receive asbestos) to which the bonded asbestos material or friable asbestos material is to be delivered.
Licencing requirements for removing asbestos
Since January 2008, a bonded asbestos licence has been required in NSW to remove more than 10 square metres of bonded asbestos material. A licensed bonded asbestos removalist can remove any amount of bonded asbestos material. Licensing for asbestos removalists is regulated and administered by WorkCover NSW. The two types of asbestos licences are designated as Class A and Class B licences.
- Class A asbestos removal licence authorises the person to carry out work with friable and bonded asbestos.
- Class B asbestos removal licence authorises the person to carry out work with bonded asbestos only.
Council’s Building Surveyors or the person appointed as the Principle Certifying Authority in respect to any particular building project have a role in ensuring that the conditions of Development Consent or a Complying Development Certificate are complied with.
Should a person not comply with the terms of the Consent then there is a range of actions that could be taken to enforce compliance and these include the issue of directions on the site, the service of Orders, the issue of a Penalty Infringement Notice (on-the-spot-fine), or the launching of prosecution proceedings in the appropriate court.
NSW WorkCover Officers also have a role in enforcing the provisions of the Work Health and Safety Act and Regulations.
The penalties for non-compliance with the laws relating to work involving asbestos material are severe.
Where can asbestos material be disposed of?
The requirements for the transport of asbestos waste are that bonded asbestos material must be securely packaged at all times; friable asbestos material must be kept in a sealed container; asbestos-contaminated soils must be wetted down; and all asbestos waste must be transported in a covered, leak-proof vehicle.
The requirements for the disposal of asbestos waste are that asbestos waste in any form must be disposed of only at a landfill site (waste depot) that is lawfully licensed to receive that waste; the transporter of asbestos waste must notify the occupier or operator of the waste depot that the load contains asbestos waste; and that the transporter, when unloading and disposing of the asbestos waste, must do so in such a manner as to prevent the generation of dust or the stirring up of dust. The operator of the licensed waste depot has other responsibilities in respect of the covering of the waste. Refer to www.asbestosawareness.com.au for further information on the disposal of asbestos material.
Imported landfill – contamination of land
Before accepting fill on your land, check with council to find out if filling of land is permitted on your premises and what approvals are required. Council approval is often required to ensure that only uncontaminated fill is used on residential properties and safety control measures are put in place. Council will also check that fill is not placed in areas where it may cause harm to plants and wildlife or pollute watercourses.
Landowners and occupants can be ordered to remove unapproved fill and pay the costs of taking it to a lawful waste facility.
Asbestos Management Policy & Guideline
City of Parramatta Council has developed an Asbestos Management Policy and guideline that details Council commitment to safely managing the risks associated with asbestos materials in our local community.
The policy and guideline are based upon the Model Asbestos Policy for NSW Councils developed by the Heads of Asbestos Coordination Authorities to promote a consistent Local Government approach to asbestos management across NSW.
The Asbestos Management Policy and Guideline outlines:
- The role of Council and other organisations in managing asbestos;
- Council’s approach to dealing with sites contaminated by asbestos and emergencies or incidents
- Council’s Development Approval process for developments that may involve asbestos
- How Council manages asbestos in the workplace
- General advice for residents on renovating homes that may contain asbestos
The policy and guideline should be read in conjunction with relevant legislation, state government policies and codes of practice relevant to the management of asbestos. The policy and guideline do not constitute legal advice.
E-Waste is any electronic equipment that is no longer useful as originally intended. E-Waste includes computers, mobile phones, televisions, fax machines etc. E-waste can contain hundreds of different materials, including both valuable recyclable materials (including copper, aluminium, gold, silver, glass and plastics ) as well as hazardous substances (including lead, mercury, beryllium and cadmium).
Why should we recycle unwanted e-waste?
Every time e-waste is disposed to landfill, valuable recyclable materials are lost forever and toxic substances can lead into the environment. In Australia approximately 140,000 tonnes of e-Waste is generated per annum, with only 4% being recycled (2009). As we are upgrading our mobile phones, computers and other electronic products more frequently than ever before, the amount of electronic waste is growing rapidly. Hence, more needs to be done to increase re-use and recycling of e-waste at the end of its life.
How to recycle e-waste?
Council’s e-waste drop off days
A big "thank you" to everyone who came to Council's last e-waste drop off day in Nov, 2015. Together, you have helped to save more 30 tonnes of e-waste from ending up in landfill.
What e-waste can be recycled at these events?
Other ways to recycle your e-waste
Mobile Phones & Accessories -
- Visit mobilemuster.com.au
Batteries, CDs and other discs -
- Parramatta City Library: 1-3 Fitzwilliam Street, Parramatta
- Parramatta City Council Administration Building: 126 Church Street, Parramatta
TVs and Computers -
- Officeworks: Unit 1, Greenway Supa Centre The Horsley Drive, Wetherill Park (up to 5 items of computer and IT accessories only )
- Belrose Resource Recovery Centre: Crozier Road, Belrose NSW
- Chullora Resource Recovery Park: 15 Muir Road, Chullora NSW
- Wetherill Park Resource Recovery Facility: 20 Davis Road, Wetherill Park NSW
- Eastern Creek Resource Recovery Park: Wallgrove Road, Eastern Creek NSW
- Lucas Heights Resource Recovery Park: New Illawarra Road, Lucas Heights NSW
- Ryde Resource Recovery Centre: 145 Wicks Road, North Ryde NSW
- Seven Hills Resource Recovery Centre: 29 Powers Road, Seven Hills NSW
Ask your retailer about take-back programs when purchasing new products, or find your nearest e-waste recyclers at www.recyclingnearyou.com.au or 1300 733 712
Please do not dump syringes in your waste, recycling or garden waste bins!
How can I safely dispose of needles and syringes?
From time to time, needles and syringes are being incorrectly disposed of in garbage, recycling and garden waste bins, resulting in occupational health and safety risks to workers at waste and recycling centres.
To address this problem, City of Parramatta Council, in conjunction with selected pharmacies, have introduced a Safe Needle Disposal Scheme for people with diabetes and other domestic users of lancets, syringes and pen needles.
What are sharps?
Sharps are objects that are intended for cutting or penetrating the skin. They include:
- a syringe with needle
- intravenous giving sets
- scalpel blades
How should I handle my sharps?
People who generate sharps should ensure they are stored correctly so that there is no risk of injury to anyone who may come into contact with the waste.
- Sharps should be stored in an appropriate rigid puncture proof container e.g. a 'yellow' sharps container
- Sharps waste containers should be stored in a secure location so children cannot access the container
- When the sharps container is full, seal the lid firmly
Where can I purchase a sharps container?
Sharps waste containers can be purchased from local pharmacies or by contacting Diabetes Australia on 9552 9900 or visit www.diabetesnsw.com.au
Where do I dispose of my sharps container?
Sharps waste containers can be taken to the following:
Permanent Community Sharp Bins
- Cnr or Horwood Pl & Houison Pl, Parramatta (Outside the Horwood Place Car Park)
- Cnr South & Mary Streets
- Reg Byrne Centre, Darcy Road
Pharmacies participating in the Safe Needle Disposal Scheme
- My Chemist, Suite 1, 16-18 Bridge Street, Epping, 2121
- Chemist Warehouse Epping, 58-60 Rawson St, Epping, 2121
- Soul Pattison Pharmacy, Shop 4, Betty Cuthbert Avenue, Ermington, 2115
- Excel Pharmacy, 174/176 Excelsior St, Guildford NSW 2161
(02) 9632 5093
- Johns Pharmacy, 333 Guildford Road, Guildford, 2161
- Priceline, Westfield Shopping Centre, Shop M10, Level 2, 159-175 Church Street, Parramatta
(02) 9633 1770
- Chemist Warehouse Parramatta, 202-214 Church St, Parramatta, 2150
- Telopea Pharmacy, 14 Banauld Place, Dundas, 2117
- Chisholm Centre Pharmacy, Shop 3 Churchill Drive, Winston Hills, 2153
- Emma Crescent Pharmacy, Shop 5A Emma Crs, Wentworthville, 2145
Public Toilets with Safe Sharp Disposal Unit
- Council Library, Amenities Building, Railway Terrace
- Bus Rail Interchange, Railway Parade
- Jubilee Park, Parkes St
- Granville Park, Claremont St, Amenities building
- Town Hall, Church St
- Corner of Charles St & Phillip St
- Evans Rd
- Neighbourhood Centre, 17 Stuart St
- Evans Rd
- Dundas Library, 21 Sturt Street
What is the cost for sharps disposal?
There are no costs associated with the disposal of your sharps waste container at participating pharmacies.
What to do if you find a syringe/needle?
For the removal of needles and syringes found in public places contact NSW Health Needle Clean-Up Hotline on 1800 633 353 or City of Parramatta Council on 9806 5050.
If you require any further information please contact Council's Waste Management Team on 9806 5544 or Western Sydney Area Health Service, Parramatta HIV and Hepatitis C Prevention Service on 9893 9522.
New Mobile Community Recycling Service
Parramatta, Holroyd and Auburn City Councils have launched a new Mobile Community Recycling Service, which will provide residents with a FREE and easy way to recycle household problem wastes including:
- gas bottles
- fire extinguishers
- batteries (car and household batteries)
- oils (motor and cooking)
- fluoro lights and smoke detectors
Residents must book a pick up via the following link Problem Waste, or call Council's Waste Hotline on 9806 5544 to register your details with the Sustainability and Waste Team.
Only household quantities will be accepted in 20kg or 20 litre maximum container sizes.
Dangerous goods and items other than those listed above will not be accepted. Please see the following Household Chemical Clean Out service for details.
Household Chemical Clean Out
Have you ever wondered what to do with those unwanted, out-of-date or leftover household chemicals found in your kitchen, bathroom, laundry, garage or garden shed?
The correct way to dispose of potentially hazardous chemicals is through the CleanOut program organised by the Environmental Protection Agency. CleanOut is a free service for the safe disposal of a range of common household chemicals which could cause harm to human health and the environment if not disposed correctly.
CleanOut events are held at various locations throughout NSW at specified dates throughout the year.
For the next Household Chemical CleanOut, visit http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/managewaste/house-chem-cleanout.htm details.
At CleanOut events household quantities, up to a maximum 20 litres or 20 kilograms of a singular item, will be accepted.
Business-related and commercial quantities are not accepted at CleanOut centres - telephone the Environment Line on 131 555 to find out correct disposal for businesses.
From your home
- Solvents and household cleaners
- Floor care products
- Ammonia-based cleaners
- Fluorescent globes and tubes
From your garage
- Paint and paint-related products
- Pesticides and herbicides
- Gas bottles
- Fire extinguishers
- Pool chemicals
- Hobby chemicals
- Acids and alkalis
From your car
- Car batteries
- Motor oils, fuels and fluids
Storage and transportation
Please handle and transport chemicals carefully:
- Never mix chemicals as this may produce dangerous reactions
- Wherever possible keep all chemicals in their original containers
- Ensure containers are clearly labelled and well sealed. If you do not know the contents, label the container 'UNKNOWN CHEMICAL'
- Liquid can leak during transport: wrap containers holding liquids securely in newspaper, place in sturdy plastic bags and then in plastic buckets or trays
- Keep household chemicals away from passengers, e.g. in the boot