Draft Asbestos Waste Strategy 2018-22

The NSW Government is committed to protecting people from poor asbestos management practices. The EPA is seeking feedback on its draft NSW Asbestos Waste Strategy 2018-22 which proposes innovative measures to reduce illegal dumping and unsafe disposal and promotes lawful and appropriate disposal of asbestos waste.

The new measures being considered are the result of social research, ongoing feedback from stakeholders, pilot programs and evaluation of existing processes. The draft Strategy is focused on better managing asbestos waste including illegal dumping and improper disposal.

Have your say

You can submit your feedback online.

There will be multiple opportunities to provide your feedback on this draft strategy by 20 November 2018. This website will be updated regularly with more details about the strategy, consultation events and opportunities to provide submissions. Your feedback will help develop the final version of the NSW Asbestos Waste Strategy 2018-22.

To provide feedback, you will need to disclose your identity and/or your organisation’s identity. All submissions will be published on the EPA’s website unless you identify in your submission that you do not wish the content to be released.

Why do we need to manage asbestos waste?

Managing asbestos waste is an important issue because of the threat to public health and the environment through exposure. The EPA want to reduce the risk of harm through exposure to asbestos.

Asbestos waste disposal presents complex and unique problems. Most asbestos waste comes from renovation and development, and also includes legacy asbestos waste such as pieces found in backyards and under houses.

The human health risk of asbestos can be managed with correct handling, storage, transport and disposal. However, environment protection agencies and local authorities across Australia are still challenged by illegal dumping and improper disposal.

Our approach

We are taking a whole-of-system approach to promote good behaviours and discourage poor behaviours. It covers where asbestos waste exists or is generated, how it’s handled and transported and where it may end up. The six proposed approaches in this strategy are interrelated and should operate together.

Making asbestos waste disposal easier

Help create more practical options for safe and lawful asbestos waste disposal, such as collection by private operators and more places for homeowners and contractors to lawfully dispose of asbestos waste.

Making asbestos waste disposal cheaper

Work with local government and industry to provide cheaper ways for householders and licensed contractors to lawfully dispose of asbestos waste under certain circumstances.

Increasing awareness and changing behaviour

Work with local government and other key stakeholders to raise awareness, increase education and change the behaviour of householders and licensed asbestos removalists, and other demolition, excavation and waste management contractors.

Closing loopholes and increasing transparency

Work with local government and SafeWork NSW to close loopholes on operators who do the wrong thing and make it easier to understand where asbestos is being moved to, and who is not disposing of it properly.

Disrupting unlawful business models

Target unlawful business models, making it harder for operators to do the wrong thing, removing the financial gains from their unlawful activities and increasing their risk of getting caught.

Monitoring and evaluating

Monitor and evaluate our progress. Every two years, we will report on our completed work, committed funding and progress.

 

Why has the NSW Government developed a draft Asbestos Waste Strategy 2018-22 for NSW?

Managing asbestos waste safely is an important priority for NSW. The government is committed to protecting the community and environment from poor asbestos waste management practices. This includes illegal dumping and improper disposal. The Strategy aims to reduce the risk of harm through exposure to asbestos waste by improving asbestos waste management practices.

How was the draft Strategy developed?

In 2017, the EPA undertook a range of research and work with key stakeholders to explore behaviours around poor asbestos waste management. This work highlighted that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach that would ensure asbestos waste is appropriately, safely and lawfully managed and disposed of. Instead a range of measures targeted at different sectors is required.

The background work generated a better understanding of asbestos waste issues which has helped inform the development of the draft Asbestos Waste Strategy 2018-22. The work identified a range of solutions that, when combined with the initiatives outlined in the NSW Illegal Dumping Strategy 2017-21, will address the significant drivers of poor asbestos management practices.

Is there anything that isn’t included in the draft Strategy?

The Strategy does not cover contaminated land or naturally occurring asbestos sites. It focusses on the transport and disposal of asbestos waste which the EPA is responsible for regulating.

Why does the draft Strategy propose to remove the levy on bonded asbestos?

Our research found that cost is a significant factor in whether asbestos waste is disposed of lawfully. Reduced costs will help people do the right thing with their asbestos waste. Currently, the waste levy applies to any asbestos waste generated or disposed of within the regulated area. The EPA will consider removing the levy from separated, wrapped bonded asbestos delivered to a landfill licensed to accept asbestos.  

How can I lawfully dispose of asbestos waste in NSW?

NSW waste facilities that accept household asbestos from the public are listed by region.

Always contact the waste facility in advance to check:

  • whether asbestos is accepted
  • any requirements for delivery

Some landfills require 24 hours notice. They may also have rules about how you package and deliver the asbestos.

What period will the Strategy cover and how will we know if it’s working?

The NSW Asbestos Waste Strategy will run over a four year period, from 2018 – 2022.  It will run in parallel with the NSW Illegal Dumping Strategy 2017-21. These Strategies share actions and collectively aim to reduce the number of asbestos containing illegal dumping incidents in NSW.

The EPA is gathering data through the EPA’s illegal dumping database ‘RIDonline’ to track progress and success. This information will be used as a baseline from which success can be measured.

How does this Strategy fit into other waste strategies?

The NSW Asbestos Waste Strategy 2018-22 has been developed to complement the actions listed in the NSW Illegal Dumping Strategy 2017-21. Reducing illegal dumping is key result area of the NSW Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery (WARR) Strategy 2014–21.

How can I participate in consultation?

You can have your say by completing the online consultation survey.

How will the strategy benefit the NSW community and the environment?

The NSW Asbestos Waste Strategy 2018-22 looks at increasing the convenience of disposing of bonded asbestos, improving asbestos regulations, reducing the costs of disposing of bonded asbestos, increasing awareness around asbestos handling and disposal, improving the upfront controls on asbestos and increasing the chance of getting caught if you dispose of asbestos illegally. This combined approach aims to improve asbestos waste management in NSW which in turn will provide a cleaner and safer environment for the NSW community.

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