Healthy Environment, Healthy Community, Healthy Business

Environment Protection Authority

Environmental Issues

Waste and resource recovery

Safely disposing of asbestos waste

Asbestos fibres are hazardous when inhaled. They can be released into the air when asbestos products are incorrectly handled, stored or transported for disposal.

It is important to ensure that asbestos waste has been wetted and sealed in heavy-duty plastic prior to transportation to a lawful waste facility such as a licensed landfill.

Information on safe removal practices for asbestos is available at www.nsw.gov.au/fibro, www.workcover.nsw.gov.au and www.thinkasbestos.com.au

Draft asbestos protocol

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is currently seeking comment from industry, government agencies and the community on a proposed protocol for managing asbestos when recovering resources from construction and demolition waste.

The EPA developed the draft protocol in close consultation with industry, WorkCover NSW, the Heads of Asbestos Coordination Authorities (HACA), technical experts and other government agencies. It provides practical procedures to verify that asbestos does not contaminate material intended for resource recovery.

Find out more about the draft protocol for managing asbestos during resource recovery of construction and demolition waste and how to comment on it by 1 September 2014.

Legal requirements for managing asbestos waste

Revised regulatory requirements for managing asbestos waste commenced on 28 April 2008. These amendments were made under the Protection of the Environment Operations Amendment (Scheduled Activities and Waste) Regulation 2008, following significant consultation with industry and the broader community in 2007.

The handling and storage of asbestos waste at worksites is regulated solely by WorkCover NSW under the current provisions of the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011.

The storage, disposal and transport of asbestos waste at non-worksites is regulated by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and local councils where they are the appropriate regulatory authority (ARA) under the Protection of the Environment Operations (Waste) Regulation 2005 as follows:

  • Waste must be stored on the premises in an environmentally safe manner.
  • 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.
  • All asbestos waste must be transported in a covered, leak-proof vehicle.
  • Asbestos waste must be disposed of at a landfill site that can lawfully receive this waste.
  • It is illegal to dispose of asbestos waste in domestic garbage bins.
  • It is also illegal to re-use, recycle or illegally dump asbestos products.
  1. Bonded asbestos material means any material (other than friable asbestos material) that contains asbestos.
  2. Friable asbestos material means any material that contains asbestos and is in the form of a powder or can be crumbled, pulverised or reduced to powder by hand pressure when dry.

Guidance on asbestos management in the home is provided at www.nsw.gov.au/fibro and www.workcover.nsw.gov.au.

Clean-up notices and prevention notices can also be issued by the EPA and councils, where they are the ARA under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997, to address pollution incidents at premises where asbestos fibres have been mobilised or asbestos waste has been handled in an environmentally unsatisfactory manner.

NSW landfills which accept asbestos waste from the public are listed below by region. Landfills that have advised the EPA that they do not accept asbestos waste from the public are not included.

Before taking asbestos to landfill

Always contact the landfill beforehand to find out whether asbestos is accepted and any requirements for delivering asbestos to the landfill.

Please note that while every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is correct and useful, the EPA does not endorse any of the landfills listed or guarantee that they will accept asbestos under all circumstances. Users are responsible for checking these details before taking asbestos to the landfills listed.

Heads of Asbestos Coordination Authorities (HACA)

The HACA group will improve the management, monitoring and response to asbestos issues in NSW by developing coordinated prevention programs.

These programs include a statewide plan for asbestos, a model asbestos policy for local councils and a comprehensive public awareness campaign to promote the safe handling of asbestos and help prevent the risk of exposure to asbestos-related diseases in the NSW community.  

HACA is chaired by the Chief Executive Officer of WorkCover, with representatives from the EPA and other State government agencies.

The roles and responsibilities of local and state government organisations for managing asbestos in different scenarios are outlined in the Asbestos Blueprint for NSW.

More information

The Australian Government's Environmental Health Subcommittee (enHealth) has developed Asbestos: A guide for householders and the general public.

The guide provides useful information to enable householders to sensibly and safely manage the risks arising from any occasional encounters with asbestos material in and around their homes.

Page last updated: 21 July 2014