Are you unknowingly living in a home or building constructed using asbestos? In Australia, approximately 60% of homes currently standing were built using asbestos cement. Find out how to watch out for asbestos and how to identify if it might be hiding behind any walls or ceilings you are working with.
So if you’re looking at a renovation – or another project that involves getting into your walls and ceiling – have a read below and be aware of the risks of Asbestos in your home or building.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral made up of durable thin fibres. Asbestos is used in building materials because it’s resistant to heat and doesn’t burn or conduct electricity. The fibre can be commonly found in insulation, cement, plaster, fire blankets and brake pads. But Asbestos becomes dangerous with prolonged exposure to the substance.
Prolonged exposure to asbestos can lead to health problems and in some cases, death. Because the substance is commonly used in building materials, people involved in demolition and maintenance are most at risk. The tiny fibres that dislodge from insulation or building material can be breathed in, get lodged in the lungs, and cause fibrosis, mesothelioma, and cancer.
The first step to identifying asbestos is to figure out how likely it is that your house was built using it. In 2003, asbestos products were banned throughout Australia, but if your home was built before 1990, it most likely contains some form of asbestos.
The majority of homes built in the 1960’s were constructed using asbestos cement. In the 1970’s the majority of homes were still constructed with asbestos cement, and asbestos was used for insulation in the roofing.
If you suspect that your home contains asbestos, it’s best to seek the advice of an expert. Any unprotected contact with the fibres can put you at risk.
Asbestos is a massive health hazard. Not just to the person disposing of the material, but also to unsuspecting victims. In Australia, there are licenced asbestos removal specialists that are trained to remove the material safely. Asbestos products CAN NOT be thrown into a regular skip bin.
If you’re working on a home renovation, it’s best to get the home surveyed by a professional before proceeding with the demolition.
Can one person really make much difference? There is a massive misconception that what a single person does has little impact on the environment. But this is simply not true.
One water bottle a day can add up to 365 plastic bottles in a year. That is a massive 10 kilograms of plastic from one person. Now multiply by Australia’s population. That’s a whole lot of waste. But there is a solution. Did you know that plastic can be upcycled to become 20 t-shirts?
So where do you start? We’ve made recycling easy with a handy recycling guide to help make your household greener.
Not all plastic can be recycled, and it’s important to know the difference to ensure you’re not doing more harm than good.
On the back of every plastic item, there should be a tiny number inscribed. That number signifies whether the plastic item can be recycled easily or if it’s hard for a processing plant to handle.
1 or 2 = RECYCLABLE
5 = DON’T RECYCLE
It’s as easy as that.
Glass is 100% recyclable. There is no excuse whatsoever to throw this in the bin. It takes over a million years for a single glass bottle to disintegrate – It should never go into general waste.
What to do with your metals can be confusing. But if you can – remember that these 4 metals CAN BE recycled.
If you come across items labelled “hazardous waste” they must be handled and disposed of carefully, to avoid endangering the lives of others. Hazardous waste can be:
Do not deposit large amounts of hazardous waste yourself. Communicate with your local council to properly dispose of the waste.
Skip bins are an efficient way to dispose of large amounts of waste. Projects like home renovations can produce a lot of rubble and need to be disposed of correctly. Look for an eco-friendly skip bin provider to sort and dispose of your waste properly.
We might not think too seriously about it when we put the wrong piece of rubbish in the wrong bin. But what about tonnes of waste being improperly disposed of? How might that affect us?
It’s an unfortunate truth that illegal dumping and improper waste management are on the rise in Australia – notably so in Perth and WA. This is largely a result of the increased levy that is to be paid when taking waste to the landfill. While the government is trying to encourage industrial companies to dispose of their waste through recycling, the companies themselves are taking the toll.
The landfill rate used to be just $12 per cubic meter of waste, but over the past few years it has been pushed up to $90, and it is set to increase even more, to $105 per cubic meter, by July. Companies are finding that if they were to pay these rates, they would be out of business. In order to avoid this, they are taking their waste elsewhere, where it may not be monitored correctly and could lead to harmful chemicals being released into the environment.
A report by Perth Now found that Perth’s drinking water catchment had been polluted as a direct result from waste stockpiles. These stockpiles accumulate because businesses cannot afford to pay the landfill levy, and are instead forced to hold onto their waste until they can find a way to dispose of it otherwise.
Water in Perth’s drinking water catchment was tested and was found to have an increased concentration of nitrates, heavy metals, and perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, and while the Department of Water and Environmental Regulations assures us that it poses no risk to Perth’s drinking water, it’s still a concerning discovery.
Water pollution can not only be harmful to humans – causing nausea and headaches among other things – but also to the environment. If the pollution becomes too much, it can have a lethal effect on the local marine life.
One of the main concerns for improperly disposed of waste is lingering asbestos fibres. While any demolition crew knows that it is a requirement to remove all asbestos from a house before it is demolished, this is not always done. And what can be said about any fibres lingering in the sheeting, tiles, or plasterboards? If these areas are missed and the waste is sent to be crushed, the lingering asbestos could be a real danger to those surrounding the area.
Similarly, the dust produced from crushing down waste can contain many contaminants. If they are not disposed of properly, this dust can all too easily be blown into nearby towns. While not as dangerous as asbestos, it still poses a risk to neighbouring areas.
While there’s nothing you can do to stop illegal dumping or the increase of the landfill levy, it is true that every little bit helps. Every time you recycle or dispose of your waste properly, you are helping the environment.
And on a larger scale, if you do have a house renovation coming up, or you’re looking to rid yourself of some of the waste that has piled up in your house and garden, or perhaps you’re looking to clean up your workyard or do some small-scale industrial work, hiring a skip bin is a great way to ensure that your waste is handled responsibly. At Bonza Bins, we make sure all of your waste is properly disposed of, so you have nothing to worry about.
Whether you’re going through a vast home renovation, you’ve finally decided to clear out the garage after a decade of throwing every odd bit in there, or you’re in charge of cleaning up a worksite, skip bin hire is most certainly the way to go. It’s dropped off, you pile everything in, and then it’s picked up and whisked away, never to be seen again. What could be more simple?
Well, as simple as it may be, it pays to remember that not everything can be dumped into a skip bin and taken away. While most things – bricks, wood, garden refuse, general waste and refuse – are more than welcome, there are some things that aren’t, and must be disposed of separately.
Asbestos should never be placed in a skip bin as it is far too dangerous and can cause contamination. If you are aware that there is asbestos to be disposed of before hiring your skip bin, talk to the company and see what solutions they can offer. Some companies have bins dedicated entirely to the removal of asbestos – and this is the best way to rid yourself and your home of it.
Any sort of gas bottle or propane tank has the potential to explode if the conditions are right, and this could be harmful to any people, equipment or property nearby. If you have any gas tanks that you need to dispose of, contact your local authorities for information on how to do this safely.
Chemicals, acids, and solvents aren’t the safest things to have around at the best of times, and when it comes to getting rid of them, a skip bin isn’t the place to do so. Any leaks could result in the chemicals absorbing into the sides of the bin and contaminating the surrounding environment.
Similarly, herbicides and pesticides should be disposed of separately. They often contain very strong chemicals that, if disposed of improperly, could cause lasting damage to the surrounding area. If you’re unsure on how to get rid of any herbicides or pesticides, try asking a local garden centre for their advice.
While paint certainly isn’t a toxic as acids and pesticides, it still contains plenty of toxins and dangerous fumes. As a result, placing them in a skip bin isn’t an option. Instead, you could keep it incase your paintwork ever needs a top up, or you could donate it to someone who is looking to decorate their own home. Whatever you do, don’t put it in a skip bin.
Old types can take up quite a bit of space in your garage, but unfortunately, putting them in a skip bin isn’t an option as disposing of them is hard work. If you have tyres to get rid of, try asking your mechanic if they can take them off your hands, or see if anyone nearby operates a recycling programme that includes tyres. If not, you could always make a tyre swing.
When it comes to disposing of your old appliances and electronics, most skip hire companies don’t allow them to be included as the risk of leaking coolants and chemicals is too high. If you have large appliances and electronics – also known as white goods – to dispose of, read our post on Replacing Your White Goods here.
Whether it’s a full renovation or a big clear out, we wish you the best with your project. And if you need skip bin hire in Perth and Canning Vale, or just have any questions about what can or cannot go in your skip bin, contact us today!