Finding and removing asbestos makes your home or business safe for yourself, your family, and your staff. But what happens to the asbestos afterwards? As a hazardous material, asbestos isn’t something you can just toss in a bin (or even into a dumpster) like other building material waste. Instead, just like with asbestos removal, asbestos disposal has to be handled with the proper protection and training by licensed experts in the field, either by the same contractors who removed the asbestos or through a properly certified disposal company.
What Regulations Govern Asbestos Disposal?
Like with most facets governing asbestos in the US, the EPA regulates the disposal of asbestos just as strictly as the removal from buildings. Any company that does one aspect of asbestos (removal, disposal, or both) must go through EPA asbestos certification and comply with EPA licensing (sometimes known as EPA licensed asbestos contractors). In addition to federal EPA regulations, many states have additional regulations, licensing, and certification needed to properly handle asbestos.
Where Does Asbestos Usually End Up?
Asbestos is generally handled as a hazardous waste, which means it needs special treatment. Like with many hazardous wastes, region landfills can apply to accept asbestos by creating the correct facilities and disposal methods. Before reaching the facility, the asbestos is already well contained, usually within specially made disposal bags with extra protection and hazard markings. Once there, the asbestos is usually buried to avoid any risk of fibers getting airborne.
Can You Recycle Asbestos?
This is a question we sometimes get from our more environmentally-minded clients. While it is true that many construction materials can be recycled, asbestos is hard to recycle for two reasons. Asbestos is usually mixed with another product, such as with concrete to make transite or added to drywall and joint compound. Mixed products like this are very hard to break apart into individual parts for recycling.
Second, asbestos is very hazardous if it gets airborne, something very likely when being broken apart during recycling. With purer forms of asbestos, asbestos can be recycled by a process known as thermal decomposition, where the asbestos is subjected to temperatures of 1250 °C and melts into silicate glass, which can be reused safely into ceramic bricks and tiles.
If you’ve found asbestos in your home and building and need help dealing with it, it’s time to contact removal and disposal specialists. Companies like Fiber Control, Inc. specialize in the procedures for dealing with asbestos and other hazardous materials. If you’re in Massachusetts or New Hampshire and need asbestos inspection and removal, we can help. Contact us today.