Asbestos Disposal

About Asbestos

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that is found in the ground. Once the different properties of asbestos were discovered, including its durability, fire resistance and insulation properties, it became widely used in the building industry from the 1940’s. It was used in a variety of different building products up until the late 1980’s, when the significant health risks associated with exposure to the fibers became known.

For health reasons, it is recommended that only a licensed contractor remove or break materials that possibly contain asbestos fibers; Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM). A DIY home improvement person is permitted to remove a limited amount of asbestos under specified conditions; see Removal below for more information.

Note: friable, unbonded asbestos can ONLY ever be legally handled by Class A Asbestos Contractor/s.

Asbestos related diseases such as mesothelioma, asbestosis and lung cancer are on the increase across Australia. The increase in disease occurrence from asbestos exposure can be attributed to the latency period between actual asbestos exposure, and actual disease onset which can extend up to 30 years.

If you suspect an area has asbestos dust, do not disturb it. Contact an Asbestos licensed contractor: they are listed in the Yellow Pages under ‘asbestos removal and treatment’. Whomever is the owner is the property is the responsible person, for the safe and suitable clean-up costs.


Identify Asbestos

There are two types of asbestos:

Bonded asbestos is a product where the asbestos is bonded with cement or a resin binder to make it more stable. The health risks associated with these products, provided they are left undisturbed, is very low. The concern is when the products are removed, drilled or handled.

Fibrous asbestos (also known as “Unbonded” or “Friable”) is a product which contains asbestos in a dusty or fibrous form, where it can be crumbled to a powder in the hand with minimal pressure. This product is dangerous and should only be handled by a licensed asbestos contractor approved for this task.

It is difficult to identify asbestos by sight, but here are some basic rules of thumb;

  • before the mid-1980s it is more than likely to contain asbestos materials
  • between the mid-1980s and 1990 it is likely to contain asbestos materials
  • after the 1990s it is highly unlikely to contain asbestos materials

Is that Asbestos? How to take precautions to avoid an expensive clean-up bill and minimise exposure to yourself and others

Common locations of materials containing asbestos in a house

Common locations of materials containing asbestos in a 1970s house

Common locations of materials containing asbestos in a commercial building



If left untouched, asbestos poses no immediate danger. Asbestos products that are mishandled, broken or disturbed through activities such as pressure cleaning and cutting or sanding with power tools can release the hazardous fibers.

Inhaled asbestos fibers can lodge in the airways, lungs or stomach and increase the chances of developing asbestosis, (scarring of lung tissue) mesothelioma or lung cancer. The risk of contracting these diseases increases with the number of fibers inhaled and the length of time you inhale them: accumulative effect. You should always take extreme care when dealing with any asbestos product.



Don’t endanger yourself, your family or neighbours by trying to remove or demolish asbestos yourself.

Before you attempt to undertake any DIY jobs that may involve the disturbance of asbestos, get familiar with the Public Health and Work Health and Safety Laws. Visit the Queensland Government’s website for further information or call one of Council’s Environmental Health Officers on 1300 COUNCIL.

If you are renovating your home and suspect it contains asbestos, it is recommended that you contact a certified asbestos contractor who holds a Class A or Class B Licence to get the job done; they are licensed to carry out any removal or disposal work safely. Homeowners are able to lawfully remove up to 10m2 of bonded asbestos only.  Ensure you refer to Asbestos: a guide for minor renovations.

The removal of friable asbestos such as by-product from ACM roof high pressure cleaning, ACM vinyl sheeting underlay and ACM insulation, can only be undertaken by a Class A Asbestos Contractor.

Asbestos removal contractors may provide a specially lined bin for trades’ people to use during renovations. Once renovations are completed, the asbestos removal contractors will collect the bin and dispose of asbestos safely for you.



You cannot dispose of asbestos in household rubbish, recycling or green waste bins and significant penalties apply for non-compliance. This measure aims to help ensure that residents and Council employees or contractors at Council’s waste disposal facilities do not put themselves at risk by handling fibres that contains asbestos. Please refer to the Fact Sheet – Asbestos Disposal Instructions which contains full details of Council’s requirements.

Packaging and disposal of associated asbestos waste must be:

  • Double wrapped in 0.2mm thick plastic sheeting & sealed with adhesive tape; or
  • Double bagged in 0.2mm plastic bags, no more than 1.2m long, 0.9m wide & sealed with adhesive tape; and
  • Clearly labelled with warnings such as:


Unsafe Asbestos Handling

If you believe a homeowner, occupant or owner-builder is unsafely handling, removing or transporting asbestos material or a person has illegally dumped asbestos waste, contact Council on 1300 COUNCIL.

If you believe a business or contractor (includes “handyman”) is unsafely handling, removing or transporting asbestos materials, phone the Queensland Department of Justice and the Attorney-General (Workplace Health and Safety Queensland) on 1300 369 915.


Further Information

Find out more information about health risks or safe handling and disposal of asbestos:
Queensland Government
Work Cover Queensland
• Or visit


Fact Sheets

Name Size
Fact Sheet – Asbestos Cleaning After Flood or Natural Disaster 139.71 KB
Fact Sheet – Asbestos Health Risks Department of Health 351.07 KB
Fact Sheet – How to Handle Asbestos Safely After Storms 187.23 KB
Fact Sheet – Asbestos Disposal Instructions 470.39 KB