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How to Dispose of Asbestos

Updated: Apr 19

man in safety overalls disposing of bagged asbestos

Asbestos must be removed by a licenced asbestos removal contractor and double bagged in a heavy duty, clear polythene bag labelled as asbestos. Once properly contained it should then be taken to a licenced asbestos disposal site.


 

In this Article:



 

What is Asbestos


Asbestos is a fibrous material that was commonly used in building materials until 1980. It was used due its heat resistance properties and wide range of applications before it was deemed illegal to use because of its harmful fibres than can cause fatal health issues like cancer. Globally an estimated 90,000 people die from asbestos related diseases each year, over 5000 of these fatalities take place in the UK.


There are 5 types of asbestos used before its ban, these different minerals fall into 3 commonly known categories due to their colour pigment:


White Asbestos - Also known as Chrysotile.

Brown asbestos - Also known as Actinolite, Amosite.

Blue Asbestos - Also known as Anthophyllite, Crocidolite and Tremolite.


 

council collection of asbestos

How to dispose of Asbestos


The process of disposing of asbestos is one that is regulated by the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. The steps taken from identification to disposal are specifically designed to reduce the risk of contamination and injury to anyone involved in the work.


1. Identification

Before any asbestos can be removed from a building it must first be identified. This identification must be carried out by a licenced professional before any removal works can begin.


2. Removal

The removal of asbestos must also be carried out by a licenced contractor, this is to ensure that the person carrying out the removal work does not release more fibres into the air and contaminate additional areas. Proper equipment and training is required when doing this type of work to keep operatives safe and reduce risk of injury of anyone in the vicinity of the work.


3. Containment

Once asbestos has been removed from its setting it needs to be contained as soon as possible to stop the spread of fibres. The asbestos should be put into clear, double bagged, heavy duty polythene bags. The bags should be properly labelled as asbestos to stop any confusion when taking the material to a disposal site. Again this work should only be carried out by a licenced asbestos removal contractor.


4. Disposal

With the asbestos properly contained and labelled it can be taken to the appropriate disposal site. A licenced waste carrier must be used to transport the asbestos to the disposal site, although this will usually be carried out by the same contractor that performed the removal work. It is illegal to dispose of asbestos in standard bins or unlicenced facilities so it is important that the goods are taken to a licenced asbestos disposal site.


 

How Much does Asbestos Removal cost?


The cost of asbestos removal can be tricky to calculate as there are a few different factors involved such as the risk involved in the work and what the asbestos fibres are contained in, for example it will generally cost more to remove an entire asbestos roof than it will be to remove some asbestos floor tiles.


Asbestos Survey Cost

Before asbestos can be removed a survey must be completed to assess the risk of the works and type of asbestos that requires removal. This survey can cost between £250 and £1000 depending on the size of the property and how severely the asbestos has degraded.


Asbestos Removal Cost

Asbestos Asbestos removal can cost anywhere between £130 - £190 per meter squared. Prices will vary depending on which part of the country you are located and the level of risk involved with removing the contaminated materials.


Asbestos Capsulation Cost

Some companies also offer asbestos encapsulation which can be a cost effective alternate way to stop the asbestos fibres from spreading. This method can be a lot cheaper costing roughly £30 per meter squared of asbestos capsulation.


 

Asbestos Removal Grants


There are currently no asbestos removal grants available in the UK. The previous national grant scheme had funding for the removal of asbestos roofs but has since been discontinued.


Alternative Funding

The Land Remediation Relief Scheme provides a deduction from corporation tax where land or business owners have had to remove harmful substances from the premises in order to keep people safe.


This scheme began in 2009 and offers 2 incentives:


  • 100% corporation tax reduction (relating to the purchase or the land).

  • A 50% reduction for expenses relating to the clean-up of the land. 


 

Types of Asbestos that can be Disposed in Landfill


There are a lot of materials that contain asbestos but not all of them can be buried in landfill, here is a list of different asbestos products that can be taken to a licenced landfill site:


  1. Asbestos Cement Products: This includes corrugated sheets commonly used on roof sheets, flat sheets for walls and ceilings, and water or drainage pipes many of which are contained in concrete.

  2. Asbestos Insulation Board (AIB): Used in ceiling tiles, wall panels, and partitions.

  3. Floor Tiles: Vinyl or thermoplastic tiles containing asbestos.

  4. Textiles and Composites: Includes old fire blankets, curtains, or ropes that contain asbestos fibres.

  5. Sprayed Coatings: Sprayed asbestos used for fire protection on structural beams or for insulation.

  6. Asbestos-Containing Felt and Paper Products: Used in some roofing and insulation materials.

  7. Other Insulating Materials: Such as loose-fill insulation, pipe lagging, and spray-on insulation.


 

asbestos signage warning of hazards present

Asbestos Signage


When removing or working around asbestos proper signage is essential to keep workers safe. Signage is important when removing asbestos as it keeps people aware that a hazard is present.


Signage can be used when removing asbestos on site to keep an area cordoned off and make nearby workers aware of the danger that is present. This ensures that people nearby know to either put on the correct PPE or not enter the hazardous area.


 

Asbestos Testing


There are a few different methods used to test asbestos, the process of sampling, preparation and analysis should be carried out by a licenced professional as there are a some variations in this process.


1. Sample Collection


Samples of asbestos can be collected through 2 different methods:


  1. Material Sampling This method involves taking a sample of the material suspected to contain asbestos. Usually a small piece is taken in order to disturb the asbestos as little as possible, often the hazardous material is wet beforehand to stop the harmful fibres being released when collecting.

  2. Air Sampling Air Sampling involves collecting asbestos fibres from the air in order to find out how contaminated the environment is with asbestos. An air pump is used in order to push air through fine filters that collect the fibres from the air, the asbestos is then sent for further testing or disposed of, depending on the purpose of the sampling.


2. Sample Analysis


Once the asbestos sample has been collected it is usually chemically treated in order to extract the asbestos from the material it is contained in. From here one of three methods may be used to take measurements from the material collected. Here are the 3 different methods used to analyse asbestos:


Polarized Light Microscopy

This is commonly used to analyse bulk material samples, it can identify the presence of asbestos as well as identifying the type of asbestos that is present.


Phase Contrast Microscopy

This technique is used when air samples are taken to measure the specific amount of asbestos concentration in the air. Although it can detect the present of fibres in the air it can not tell the difference between asbestos fibres and non-asbestos fibres meaning it has it has limited applications


3. Reporting


The final step of the testing process involves compiling the results and reporting the findings. The aims of carrying out these tests is to determine if asbestos is present, the amount of asbestos present, and the type of asbestos that is present.


Once these results have been determined a proper report can be put together showing the level of risk the asbestos poses, from here a plan can be put together to remove or manage the asbestos.


 

Fines for Asbestos


If someone has asbestos on their property and chooses to not take action to properly manage or remove the asbestos risk, they can face a fine of up to £20,000 or imprisonment of up to 12 months.


Fly tipping or improper disposal of asbestos in the UK can also result in a fine of up to £50,000 or a 5 year prison sentence.


 

bin men disposing of asbestos into back of bin wagon

Council Collections


Some local councils have collection services available for people who have removed asbestos from their home and need help transporting it to a disposal site. Some councils offer this service for free although there may be a daily limit on how much asbestos can be disposed.


Local councils may also require the collection to be scheduled a week or so in advance, this is important to keep in mind as you do not want loose asbestos kept around for multiple days before being collected and taken to a local tip.


 

Frequently Asked Questions


Can I Put Asbestos in a Normal Bin?

Can Asbestos be Buried?

Where does Asbestos come from?


 

a link to a asbestos awareness course link

Sources:


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