November is Asbestos Awareness Month

Published on 16 November 2022


November is national Asbestos Awareness Month, a time when homeowners, renovators and tradies are reminded to not take risks with asbestos.

Byron Shire Council in partnership with North East Waste (NE Waste)is asking residents who are thinking about renovating to be ‘asbestos ready’ to avoid delays and cost blowouts, as well as reduce health risks.

Asbestos in a home becomes dangerous when it is damaged, disturbed or deteriorating.

“Asbestos is found in one in three homes in Australia and may be in walls, bathrooms, ceilings, floors, laundries, kitchens, roofs, fences and garages,” Karen Rudkin, Project Coordinator North Waste, said.

“People need to always assume asbestos is present in any property built before 1990 and Council offers free testing kits to help property owners,” Ms Rudkin said.

Household asbestos testing kits are available from the Customer Service staff in Council’s Mullumbimby office and at the Byron Resource Recovery Centre (BRRC) at Myocum.

The kits include instructions on how to take samples safely and they contain packaging to allow people to send samples safely to a certified testing laboratory.

The results are emailed to property owners within five working days.

“Once people get the results of the test then they can make informed decisions about the next steps of their renovation or project,” Zoe White, Resource Recovery Education and Compliance Officer said.

“If there is asbestos that needs removing they should contact a licensed removal contractor.

“If it’s bonded asbestos, such as asbestos cement sheeting or vinyl floor tiles, for an area of less than 10 square metres Council sells subsidised asbestos disposal kits at the BBRC for $35.00,” Ms White said.

Exposure to asbestos fibres can cause cancer so asbestos waste should always be disposed of correctly and in no circumstance be put in general waste bins or dumped in the bush. 

“Asbestos waste is treated so seriously that it can only be disposed of at landfills that are licensed to accept it,” Ms Rudkin said.

As the Byron Resource Recovery Centre is a transfer station and does not have an active landfill, we are unable to accept asbestos.

Places that accept asbestos waste are listed on the NE Waste website.

“The illegal dumping of asbestos waste in any domestic or commercial bins or anywhere other than a landfill licenced to accept it can incur very heavy fines of up to $5 million,” Ms Rudkin said.

Information on asbestos disposal and management is on Council’s website and the NE Waste website.

For media enquiries contact the Media and Communications team on 02 6626 7320 or Karen Rudkin, Project Coordinator North East Waste, on 0401 941 330.


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