Asbestos waste is not just the actual asbestos, it is also about any materials that are used in and around the enclosure area. So, any materials that we use to form part of the enclosure such as polythene sheeting, the timber struts that help hold up the sheeting – all of these items must be disposed as of contaminated asbestos waste.
Is the waste all the same?
Yes, it is. Asbestos is all treated the same. It is all destroyed in the same way and ends up in the same place. Debris, piping insulation, vinyl tiles are all treated as waste and disposed of in the same ways.
Asbestos cement is sprayed down before being removed, using controlled wetting techniques, but ultimately the actual asbestos waste that comes out of that process is still disposed of the same way.
How do we move the waste?
Asbestos waste is usually bagged up in asbestos waste sacks featuring unique identifiers to show they contain asbestos.
Asbestos must be removed carefully and breakages must be avoided as much as possible. So, certain things, such as large sheets, are wrapped up rather than broken, before being put into bags. If you have to break the asbestos up before disposing of it, you are increasing the risk of exposure.
Ceiling tiles are carefully removed and put into bags. Asbestos insulating boards would be unscrewed, wetted down, and placed in a red bag first. As much air as possible is removed from the bag which is then sealed with tape. Before it leaves the enclosure, it is wiped down again to remove any further contamination that may have happened when the asbestos was placed in the bag. When the operative is happy that nothing is on the bag, it is placed into a clearer asbestos bag so you can see it has been double bagged. The bags used are extremely thick as the waste is usually heavy with sharp edges.
What happens to the waste once it is ready to be moved?
Once it has been fully sealed, cleaned and double bagged, an outside operative will collect the waste and take it to either the waste skip or the actual waste vehicle. For larger projects you will have different size waste containers. For smaller projects it is just as easy for contractors to remove asbestos waste in their vehicles, however for them to remove it in their vehicles, they need to have a fully segregated waste compartment. Without this the waste could contaminate the vehicle and other equipment.
What safeguards are in place?
If vans and skips are on site, they must be locked with chains and extra security. Anything to do with waste should be sealed off and locked away.
What happens to the waste when it leaves the site?
The waste is accompanied by an asbestos consignment note which shows what type of asbestos it is, where the asbestos has come from and where it will end up. It goes through a waste transfer station where the asbestos containment consignment note is checked and the waste transfer company signs it to say they have received it. The waste then goes to landfill, back into the ground where it came from, although now it’s wrapped up in polythene. Only a few sites in the UK are allowed to take asbestos so it’s vital to get a copy of the consignment note that confirms the asbestos has been disposed of correctly. You are ultimately responsible for that waste – if anything arises and you didn’t follow the correct procedure, you will be held responsible, so always ask for the certificate.
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