How To Dispose of Asbestos? A Guide for Householders
The mere mention of the word “Asbestos” is enough to strike fear into the hearts of homeowners. But if you’re unlucky enough to discover asbestos in a property, getting rid of it is relatively simple if you know what you’re doing. Below are our top tips on how to dispose of it safely.
Handle with care
Because of its extremely hazardous fibres, Asbestos was banned in the UK in 1999. So anything built after that date will likely be fine. But, if you’re carrying out home improvement work or buy a property that was constructed before 2000 then there is a chance it could contain asbestos.
If you do find asbestos – the ideal approach is to employ an experienced asbestos removal specialist with appropriate training and equipment (see below). However, if you do decide to move the asbestos yourself, then please handle it with care. The HSE’s asbestos essentials task sheet has some great advice on this. For example, you should wear gloves, a dust mask and safety goggles and place the asbestos into plastic bags. Also, try to avoid breaking it into smaller pieces, because this will create asbestos dust, and it is these dust particles that are the dangerous bit. Asbestos is generally safe unless broken. If you do need to break it, or this happens accidentally, the best thing to do it is spray water on it to minimise the dust particles.
Note that if you rent rather than own your property, speak to your landlord first as it is their responsibility to manage any asbestos in the building – not yours.
Take it to the tip yourself
Assuming you have access to a vehicle, then loading up the bagged asbestos into your car and driving to your local tip is one of the cheapest and simplest ways to dispose of asbestos. But, it’s important to check with your local authority before doing this.
Some council tips don’t allow you to dispose of asbestos and advise having it removed by the council themselves or by a private contractor. But certain councils have tips you can take it to, with specific amounts/items that you’re allowed to take. To check what your council offers, go to https://www.gov.uk/asbestos-in-home.
Use your council’s asbestos collection service
Most local councils provide a collection service for a subsidised cost, which is normally considerably cheaper than using a private removal service. The downsides are that there is often a limit on how much can be taken and you may have to wait at least a week or so to arrange a collection time. Get advice from your local environmental health officer.
Use a specialist asbestos removal contractor
The difference between using a specialist contractor and the council’s collection/ disposal service is speed and cost. Private contractors are likely to cost quite a bit more, but they will often be able to do a collection within a few days, if not the same day.
Even though there is no legal requirement for them to do so, we recommend only using contractors that are a member of the Asbestos Removal Contractors Association. This is the main industry association and, whilst being a member of it isn’t a guarantee of service quality, it is a good indication of the suppliers’ professionalism and commitment to compliance and health & safety.
Regardless of whether they are a member of ARCA, they must have a Hazardous Waste Carriers Licence and comply with BOHS P402 Standards. And when they remove the asbestos, they are legally obliged to provide you with a Hazardous Waste Consignment Note – a written document detailing what is being removed, the address, date and parties involved in the transfer.
Weigh up the cost
It’s normally completely free to dump asbestos at your local tip as a householder.
A more expensive but safer and more convenient solution is using the council collection service. The cost of this for householders varies by the local authority, but it is subsidised and therefore will be cheaper than using a private contractor.
For example, Essex council charge £40 to remove up to 40kg of asbestos and Richmond Upon Thames £44 to remove up to 200kg.
If you need your asbestos removed sooner than a local authority can offer, some example costs for a private collection service are:
- Sealed bag of asbestos waste – £50 (per bag)
- Domestic water tank removal & disposal – £200
As you can see, professional removal doesn’t come cheap, but it’s much safer to leave asbestos removal in the hands of those who know what they’re doing.
This article was produced by AnyJunk, the UK’s largest bulky waste collection company. Click here to check prices or book online.
Our small print
AnyJunk is not a firm of solicitors, consultant or public authority – we are a rubbish clearance company. This guidance is designed to be a pragmatic summary for the majority of users and we have not included a multitude of additional rules, caveats and exemptions that may be relevant to your specific situation. If you require more detailed information or a definitive view on the rules and regulations governing waste, we recommend seeking independent legal advice or, at the very least, contacting the Environment Agency for a proper chat. In other words, please don’t sue us; we’re only trying to help!