Illegal Asbestos Waste Dumping

Illegal Asbestos Waste Dumping is reportedly a big problem in QLD, NSW, VIC & SA.

Responsible Home Owners are needed to do their part to ensure Asbestos Removalists, Builders and Renovators offering cheaper than competitive prices, are not engaging in illegal Asbestos Waste Dumping.

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In an article by Andrew Heaton, published in Sourceable on February 3rd 2016, he highlights the issue that not only are some home owners engaging in Illegal Asbestos Waste Dumping, but so are some commercial operators.

According to a Sydney Morning Herald report last October, the outer fringes in Sydney were essentially serving as a ‘dumping ground’ for Illegal Asbestos Waste Dumping as unscrupulous builders and home renovators sought to avoid the time and costs associated with legal disposal of asbestos.

The article discusses how in South Australia, the problem of illegal Asbestos Waste Dumping is so bad that the government is considering proposals to crush the vehicles of those who are caught doing the wrong thing.

Heaton cites, as an example of illegal Asbestos Waste dumping, a recent incident in Queensland where demolition waste dumped on a private property close to the Riverview State School near Ipswich was found to contain asbestos.


So what lies behind the problem? And what can be done about illegal asbestos waste dumping?


Broadly speaking, activity relating to illegal Asbestos Waste Dumping, falls into two categories;

  • smaller dumps of waste undertaken by households (owners or tenants)
  • larger dumps from commercial operations – often involving material which has been wrapped correctly but simply not taken to the correct location.

The article references Michael Shepherd, president of the Queensland-based Asbestos Industry Association as saying the critical underlying causes of illegal Asbestos Waste Dumping revolve around cost, knowledge and accessibility to asbestos landfills.

There certainly is the temptation for commercial operators, in order to reduce their costs to win more work, to engage in the act of illegal Asbestos Waste Dumping. This leads them to do things like hide the asbestos waste at the bottom of regular waste or dump it on a vacant lot and hope local councils pick it up.

For smaller tradespeople, the time and cost associated with dealing with asbestos on jobs can be significant – a fact which tempts many to try disposing of it in their other waste at regular landfill spots. Some of this waste gets recycled as concrete aggregates and ends up in gardens.

According to a review undertaken by the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency, the main reasons for illegal dumping of asbestos-containing materials are;

  • the cost and accessibility of legal disposal options;
  • the time taken to travel to potentially distant sites; and
  • apathy or a perception that dealing with materials containing asbestos is difficult.

Also in that report, the potential solutions include:

  • increasing the availability of local disposal facilities;
  • increasing penalties for those caught illegally dumping asbestos waste;
  • reducing the cost of legal disposal; or
  • better information about how and where to dispose of asbestos legally. This includes campaigns to raise awareness of the problem amongst younger generations.

In the meantime, for owners of residential or commercial properties that care about the effects of Illegal Asbestos Waste Dumping, the solution is to engage a firm that can guarantee their compliance to the legislation and provide accurate Waste Tracking Certificates.

Andrew Heaton’s article can be viewed in full here.