One in four are disposing of asbestos incorrectly says NSW EPA

One in four are disposing of asbestos incorrectly says NSW EPA

By Nicholas Scaltrito  February 3rd, 2022

New research commissioned by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has found a lack of knowledge about asbestos disposal in NSW among both homeowners and trade professionals.


The research found almost 50 per cent of homeowners in NSW live in properties that contain asbestos but do not have the knowledge to dispose of it safely. The survey of 2,000 participants in NSW also found more than one quarter of them had disposed of asbestos illegally or incorrectly. The most common disposal practices were either leaving it on-site or disposing of it in household waste bins. 

The research indicated most people overestimate their understanding of proper asbestos disposal practices. Less than half of the trade professionals surveyed used protective equipment when handling asbestos on-site, and less than a quarter engaged licensed asbestos professionals during their projects. 

While proper safety precautions should always be taken when undertaking repairs or renovations, particular attention should be paid to houses and buildings constructed before 1990. These sites are most likely to have asbestos present in construction aggregate. 

“If homeowners don’t think about asbestos when planning or doing work, they can get a nasty surprise that puts their family and friends at risk of disease,” Sharon Owens, the NSW EPA Unit Head of Education and Programs, said in a statement

“This research makes it very clear how important educating the community about asbestos is all year round.” 

Although this study was conducted in NSW, it raises concerns about asbestos awareness on a national scale. Given the dangers associated with asbestos to the environment and human health, it is important to include trained professionals in its assessment and disposal around the country. 

How to dispose of asbestos safely 

If you are aware of or unsure about the presence of asbestos on a site for renovation, construction, or demolition, organise a licensed professional to inspect the site and safely manage the disposal of any asbestos if found. 

Local facilities specialising in asbestos disposal and collection can be found at Recycling Near You for smaller, individual project quantities. Commercial quantities or businesses that handle asbestos on a regular basis can access safe disposal information at Business Recycling.  

Information regarding safety and disposal can be found at Asbestos Safety, the government's hub for asbestos awareness. 


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Nicholas Scaltrito

Nick joined Planet Ark in 2021 coming from a background of graphic design and marketing communications. A self-described “jack-of-all-trades’, Nick likes to channel his helpful nature and enthusiasm for change in all aspects of life from his social life and work to his community volunteering.

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