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Requirements for transporting asbestos

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There are different legal requirements when transporting asbestos.

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As a general guide, 250 kg of typical asbestos waste would occupy about a quarter of a normal household trailer.

Homeowners

With less than 250 kg of asbestos waste

The regulated waste transport laws do not apply if you are transporting less than 250 kg of asbestos waste in a vehicle on a non-commercial basis. While approval is not required, you must transport and dispose of the asbestos waste promptly, safely and legally.

Each council sets its own rules on how and if it receives asbestos waste. Before transporting asbestos waste, you should contact your local Council to find out where you can dispose of asbestos waste, if there are any conditions for disposal (e.g. time of day, maximum amount at one time), and how much it will cost and confirm that the intended disposal site will accept asbestos waste from homeowners. Asbestos waste must only be disposed of at a site approved by a local government for the disposal of asbestos waste.

If you are taking the asbestos waste to a Council approved site, place the double wrapped/bagged asbestos waste (labelled as containing asbestos) in a trailer or in the back of a utility or truck. Secure your load and ensure the plastic wrappings/bags are not at risk of ripping. Follow the Council's directions when you arrive at the site.

Alternatively, you may choose to engage a commercial contractor to transport and dispose of the waste for you. The contractor must hold an environmental authority to transport regulated waste.

With 250 kg or more of asbestos waste

The regulated waste transport laws apply if you are transporting 250 kg or more of waste asbestos in a vehicle on a non-commercial basis. The best option would be to engage a commercial contractor to undertake the transport and disposal.

Commercial contractors can advise you on how the asbestos waste must be packaged for transport and disposal. They can provide different bags, bins and containers, including drums and skips, for asbestos waste.

Before engaging a commercial contractor, it is critically important that you check whether they hold a current environmental authority to transport regulated waste. You can confirm this with the contractor as a copy of the environmental authority must be kept with the vehicle.

Waste removalists can be found in the Yellow Pages under 'asbestos' or 'rubbish removal'.

Contractors and businesses

With less than 250 kg of asbestos waste

An environmental authority to transport regulated waste and the completion of waste transport certificates is not required for the non-commercial transportation of less than 250 kg of asbestos waste. Therefore, if the main purpose of your commercial operation is not transporting regulated waste, but you transport asbestos waste as an incidental part of carrying out your main business, you do not need to hold an environmental authority for regulated waste transport or complete waste transport certificates when transporting less than 250 kg of asbestos waste.

For example, if you are a plumber and you are carrying out plumbing works that results in the production of asbestos waste, you do not need an environmental authority to take the asbestos waste to the landfill if the load is less than 250 kg (because transporting asbestos waste is not the main purpose of your business). 

With 250 kg or more of asbestos waste

The regulated waste transport laws apply if you are transporting 250 kg or more of asbestos waste in a vehicle on a non-commercial basis, and you will therefore need to:

Transporting asbestos waste on a commercial basis

The regulated waste transport laws apply if you are transporting any quantity of asbestos in a vehicle on a commercial basis. Commercial basis means that the primary objective of the operator is to, or includes, transport of regulated waste.

When the business's primary objective is to provide other services (for example plumbing or electrical services) and the transport of regulated waste (asbestos waste) is incidental to the day-to-day business, then the transport is not considered to be on a commercial basis.

Example 1

A company is contracted to install telephone lines, connections and pits. This task involves removing small amounts of asbestos containing material (ACM) that will need transportation to a licensed landfill.

The contractor's primary objective is to install telephone lines, connections and pits (which may require the removal of ACM).  The removal and transport of the waste ACM is considered incidental to the primary objective of the business. Therefore, an environmental authority for regulated waste transport is not required to transport quantities under 250 kg of ACM.

However, if a company is specifically contracted to attend the site to collect and transport the asbestos waste to a licensed landfill, then this is considered their primary objective and an environmental authority for regulated waste transport is required, regardless of the total weight.

Example 2

A plumber is contracted to install a new shower in a bathroom. This task involves removing a portion of wall sheeting, which is asbestos containing material.

The plumber's primary objective is to install plumbing fixtures and the transport of the asbestos waste to a licensed landfill is considered incidental.

The plumber may charge a labour or a tip fee to transport and dispose of the asbestos waste, however because their primary objective is to provide a plumbing service and not a regulated waste removal service, they would not require an environmental authority to transport under 250 kg of asbestos waste to a landfill.

Where a contractor is engaged to specifically collect the asbestos waste and transport it to a landfill that would be part of their primary objective. In that case, the contractor would be undertaking regulated waste transport on a commercial basis and would require an environmental authority regardless of the total asbestos weight.

Example 3

A licensed asbestos removalist is contracted to remove 15 square metres of asbestos cement sheeting. Although the asbestos cement sheeting is less than 250 kg, the transport is an integral part (i.e. a primary objective) of the asbestos removal business and considered to be on a commercial basis.

Example 4

The operator of a home maintenance business removes three square metres of asbestos cement sheeting to install a new door. Because their primary task is to provide a home maintenance service and not a regulated waste removal and transport service, they would not require an environmental authority to transport under 250 kg of asbestos waste to a landfill. 

Example 5

Occasionally asbestos cement sheets in the walls at a large factory are broken. The broken sheets are removed and one of the employees takes 100 kg of broken asbestos cement sheeting to a licensed landfill. The transport of the regulated waste (asbestos waste) is not considered to be on a commercial basis because the asbestos handling and transport is incidental to the main objective of the day-to-day business.

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