What is hazardous waste?
The Hazardous Waste (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Act 1989, which covers hazardous waste only, defines hazardous waste as:
- Waste prescribed by the regulations, where the waste has any of the characteristics mentioned in Annex III to the Basel Convention. These characteristics include:
- Flammable Liquids/Solids
- Infectious Substances.
- Wastes that belong to any category contained in Annex I to the Basel Convention , unless they do not possess any of the hazardous characteristics contained in Annex III. Wastes in Annex I include:
- Clinical wastes;
- Waste oils/water, hydrocarbons/water mixtures, emulsions;
- Wastes from the production, formulation and use of resins, latex, plasticizers, glues/adhesives;
- Wastes resulting from surface treatment of metals and plastics;
- Residues arising from industrial waste disposal operations; and
- Wastes which contain certain compounds such as: copper, zinc, cadmium, mercury, lead and asbestos.
- Household waste; or
- Residues arising from the incineration of household waste.
Copies of Annex 1 and Annex III to the Basel Convention can be found in the Hazardous Waste (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Act 1989.
For some materials, their status as a hazardous waste is not obvious. Under the Act, the Minister may issue an evidentiary certificate stating that a specified substance is, or is not, a hazardous waste. Before issuing such a certificate, the Minister must seek expert advice from the Hazardous Waste Technical Group.
To date, evidentiary certificates have been made for: