| Hazardous waste, Waste management

Adios, Asbestos! How to dispose of asbestos responsibly

Asbestos, a hazardous mineral once widely used in construction and various industries, poses serious health risks. Exposure to asbestos fibres can lead to severe respiratory illnesses, including lung cancer and mesothelioma. If construction or housebuilding site contains asbestos, it is crucial to prioritise its safe removal to ensure the health and well-being of all workers involved.

In this blog post, we will delve into the importance of asbestos removal, the process involved, and the significance of hiring professionals for this critical task.

Understanding asbestos

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was commonly used for its fire-resistant and insulating properties, typically found in construction projects being carried out by Reconomy customers. It was widely utilised in building materials such as insulation, roofing, flooring, and textured coatings until the government banned it due to health concerns with those in proximity of the material. The danger lies in its microscopic fibres, which, when disturbed, become airborne and can be inhaled, causing significant health risks.

The importance of safe asbestos removal

Health and safety:

Asbestos exposure kills 5000 workers each year.  The disease is caused by the inhalation of fibres.  Inhalation can occur when directly working with asbestos, or from close contact with people who have been working with it and may have it on their clothing. Asbestos-related diseases often manifest years after exposure, making early detection and prevention vital. By removing asbestos from your environment, you eliminate the potential for prolonged exposure, reducing the risk of developing asbestos-related illnesses for you, your family, or your employees.

Legal Compliance:

In many countries, asbestos removal is governed by strict regulations to ensure public safety. In the UK, we are specifically governed by the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. Compliance with these regulations is not only a legal requirement but also an ethical responsibility. Failure to address asbestos issues can lead to severe penalties, legal complications, and potential harm to others.

The asbestos removal process:

Engaging a licensed asbestos inspector is the first step in determining whether your property contains asbestos. They will conduct a thorough inspection, take samples, and send them to a certified laboratory for analysis. This testing will identify the presence, type, and condition of asbestos-containing materials (ACMs).

Once asbestos has been confirmed in the building, a detailed removal plan is developed. This plan outlines the scope of work, safety procedures, equipment needed, and disposal methods. Adequate preparation includes setting up containment areas, sealing off affected areas, and ensuring proper ventilation.

Asbestos removal is a highly specialised task that should only be carried out by trained and certified professionals. These experts possess the knowledge, skills, and equipment required to handle asbestos safely. They follow strict protocols to minimize fibre release, utilizing techniques such as wet removal, encapsulation, or enclosure.

Disposing of asbestos waste requires adherence to specific guidelines. Asbestos materials are double bagged in labelled containers, clearly marked as hazardous. The waste is then transported to authorized disposal facilities where it is safely contained to prevent any further contamination.

Reconomy work with a large number of fully licensed supply partners who can assist with the safe testing and removal of asbestos, so please get in touch if you require assistance.