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Somerset raises asbestos safety standards

Published: 28th February 2012 15:28

Reducing risk: seal asbestos in double wrapped plasticNew rules requiring all asbestos to be double wrapped and sealed for disposal are being introduced at Somerset recycling sites from Thursday 1 March.

Cement bonded or sheet asbestos is accepted at seven Somerset recycling sites: Bridgwater (Saltlands), Frome, Highbridge, Minehead, Street, Taunton (Priorswood) and Yeovil. For other forms of asbestos, residents should seek professional advice.

Residents need to call the recycling site in advance and bring household asbestos double wrapped and sealed in heavy duty plastic, such as rubble bags closed with gaffer or duct tape. Large sheets should not be broken up but double wrapped as they are, using heavy duty plastic.

If residents are unable to take asbestos or items containing asbestos to one of the designated recycling sites, they can arrange for an asbestos collection for a fee with Somerset County Council customer services on 0845 3459188 or somersetdirect@somerset.gov.uk.

Storage heaters, which can contain asbestos, should not be broken up but disposed of through an asbestos collection or taken complete and double wrapped to one of the seven recycling sites that accept asbestos, after calling the site.

Asbestos is a toxic material that was once used for insulation and fireproofing in construction. Because some forms have been linked to lung diseases, asbestos is no longer used in new homes. However, older buildings may still contain asbestos, which is a hazardous waste.

SWP Managing Director Steve Read said: "Somerset is raising the standards to ensure everyone's safety, whether it is residents disposing of asbestos or other recycling site users and staff."

SWP's website lists its requirements: "Double wrap all asbestos in strong bags prior to taking to a recycling site for disposal.

"Use gloves and masks when handling asbestos and, where possible, do not break, drill, scrub or saw the asbestos.

"Damp down the working area with water to limit airborne particles and remaining fibres should be cleared up with a damp cloth, which should be included with the asbestos for disposal."

Residents are required to telephone the recycling site in advance to ensure there is space for the asbestos and must alert staff as they arrive to be directed to the correct container.

The SWP website adds: "Staff at the site are not able to assist with unloading of this material. Place the asbestos (complete with bags, wrapping and cleaning cloths) in the container."

The maximum limit that can be taken equates to 16 sheets 6ft x 2ft (2.5m x 0.6m).

Commercial or trade asbestos cannot be collected or accepted at any recycling site; businesses must make arrangements with a commercial waste management company.

The Asbestos Removal Contractors Association can suggest firms, while a list of approved service providers can be obtained from the Health and Safety Executive.

Signs and leaflets about the risks and rules of asbestos are available at the seven recycling sites that take it for disposal.

More advice and details of the seven recycling sites accepting asbestos is available from SWP: http://www.somersetwaste.gov.uk/sites/asbestos/

And from the Health and Safety Executive: http://www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos/

Nine take plasterboard: Chard and Crewkerne recycling sites are now able to take plasterboard for recycling, in addition to Bridgwater, Frome, Highbridge, Street, Taunton, Williton and Yeovil.

About Somerset Waste Partnership: Somerset Waste Partnership manages waste and recycling services on behalf of Mendip, Sedgemoor, South Somerset and West Somerset District Councils, Taunton Deane Borough Council and Somerset County Council.



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