Hazardous Waste in Australia and How to Dispose of it Properly

Hazardous Waste in Australia and How to Dispose of it Properly


The wastes which are potentially harmful or dangerous to our health and environment are known as hazardous waste. It can come in any form liquid, solid, or gas. Some examples are motor oil, cleaning fluids, brake oils, Kerosene, batteries, etc.

Around 5.6 million tonnes of hazardous waste has been produced in the year 2014- 2015 in Australia, which is 9% of the total waste generated in this period in Australia.

94% of hazardous waste in Australia is generated and managed by infrastructure industries located within a state or territory border, 5% crosses the interstate border and 1% is exported to or imported from overseas.

Hazardous waste is increasing by 9% each ear in Australia. (This statistics is for the period of 2014 – 2015, source: www.environment.gov.au).

There are two main types of hazardous waste, those are,

  • Household 
  • Commercial

Household Hazardous Wastes

Hazardous Waste - Household

Household hazardous wastes are the wastes that are used in household chores. They are potentially toxic, explosive, or harmful to people’s health and the environment.

Chemicals contained in garages, kitchens, backyard sheds, and laundries can cause serious health damage by turning into harmful hazardous waste.

Hazardous household waste includes:

  • Kerosene
  • Motor oil
  • Chemicals used in kitchens and bathrooms
  • Drain cleaners
  • Oil paint
  • Fluorescent lamps
  • Lamp ballasts
  • Poisons
  • Fuel
  • Antifreeze
  • Medical waste
  • Smoke detectors
  • Pesticides
  • Electronic wastes such as TV, cell phones, etc.
  • Pool chemicals ( To find out how to store Pool Chemicals click here)

Commercial Hazardous Wastes

Hazardous Waste - Commercial

Most of the hazardous waste is generated by commercial chemical and manufacturing industries.  Any industries that use the following materials for their manufacturing process probably creates hazardous waste:

  • Dyes
  • Thinners
  • Chemicals
  • Paints
  • Cleaning fluids
  • Materials that dissolved metal, wood, paper, and clothing
  • Pesticides
  • Any products that labeled with danger, hazardous, or poison

Commercial hazardous wastes include:

  • Contaminated soils and asbestos
  • Waste from the heavy manufacturing industries
  • Mining wastes such as coal seam
  • Grease trap waste produced by commercial cooking
  • Lead-containing wastes

Characteristics of Hazardous Waste

Hazardous Waste - identify waste 

Hazardous waste must be disposed of with special care to prevent animal health risks and environmental harm.

Following are the characteristics to be aware of:

Ignitability: Easy to catch on fire. Example- methanol, ethanol, benzene, etc.

Corrosivity: Usually acids or bases and are capable of corroding metal containers. Example- hydrochloric acid, nitric acid, sodium hydroxide solution, etc.

Reactivity: Unstable under normal conditions and can easily cause explosions to generate toxic fumes, violent reactions, and explosive gases. Example- concentrated sulfuric acid, sodium metal, lithium metal, amides, metal azides, etc.

Toxicity: Toxic waste leaches contaminated liquid which pollutes the groundwater. Example- arsenic, barium, cadmium, silver, etc.

Disposing of Hazardous Waste

Hazardous Waste - dispose of

Hazardous waste can’t be disposed of in landfills like other wastes. It requires special treatment. The chemicals or gasses from waste identified as dangerous, can leak into the environment or waterways and cause serious risks for the animal health and environment. It is illegal to dispose of hazardous waste in regular landfills and regular ways.

Here Are Some Techniques to Dispose of Hazardous Waste Properly:

1.Identify the common waste items identified as hazardous

At first, you have to identify hazardous wastes. Some examples of this type of wastes have been given above in this article.

2. Find out the local hazardous waste collection and disposal facilities

Hazardous wastes require special handling. Never mix this type of wastes with normal trash. Check out what waste management services are available in your area. If you are not sure what you should do with the wastes your household or industry produce, talk with a waste collection and disposal service provider in your area. On the other hand, some communities have their own hazardous waste collection and drop-off facilities. Find out if your community already has this facility.

3. Hire a waste management expert

If you are running an industry or business and producing hazardous wastes but not sure what to do with them, hire an expert waste management consultant. Experts from waste management services can come to your industry or business to review your waste and give you their opinion about it. They can give you solid ideas about what you should do with your hazardous wastes.

4. Recycle

Many hazardous wastes can be recycled or in some cases can be reclaimed. There might be some sites in your locality who accepts some hazardous waste to give it to the people who can still use it. Find out and contact them to know what they can recycle. For example, used oils can be salvaged and recycled, batteries can also be recycled.

5. Reduction can be an effective disposal tactic

There are many companies and industries that are looking for ways to reduce the number of chemicals they use to reduce the amount of hazardous waste they generate. Some can provide you with free waste audit services for your industry or business so that you can have a complete idea about the amount of hazardous waste your industry is producing.

There are also various approaches that can be taken to reduce hazardous waste generation:

  • Using Lean Manufacturing tactic that allows creating a zero waste environment for your business
  • Applying Environmental Management System to build your company’s environmental footprint
  • Enabling energy recovery system to produce electricity from synthetic gas by burning out the wastes through gasification

Improper hazardous waste disposal methods can harm animal life and the environment. To reduce hazardous waste, try to use non-hazardous products and consider alternatives when available. For example, use strainers instead of chemical drain cleaner, non-aerosol products instead of aerosol products. Act now, reduce your waste generation and help the planet go green again.

chemical safe storage shed - read more

No Comments

  • Elsa George says:

    Disposal of hazardous waste in right manner is highly important. Since you have great knowledge about this I want to ask a suggestion. Do you have any idea from where we can get the right products online for disposal of hazardous waste .

  • Hi Elsa, the best way to dispose of hazardous waste is to collect it separately from other waste and take it to the tip where they tend to have a section specific for these products. They will dispose of it there. There is little you can do at home to ‘dispose of it’ but the key is not to throw it in the normal trash, take it to professionals who will do it.

    You can reduce the amount of Hazardous waste you have at home by taking some steps like using chemical free cleaners, Solar panel power over battery operated items.

    If you have a lot or not sure what is hazardous, you can get professionals as suggested in this blog to check and remove the hazardous items for you.

    Hope this helps!

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