Asbestos and Mesothelioma in Australia

Guide to Handling, Disposing and Recycling Asbestos

The best way to handle, dispose of and recycle asbestos is to hire licensed asbestos abatement professionals. Learn more about how asbestos is recycled and how professionals safely handle and dispose of asbestos-containing materials.

Improper handling of asbestos-containing materials puts workers and the general public at risk of developing asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma cancer, lung cancer and asbestosis.

The risk of developing one of these diseases increases with every exposure to asbestos.

The first and most important thing to know about handling and disposing of asbestos is that you should not do it yourself. Asbestos is a deadly carcinogen that should only be handled by licensed asbestos abatement professionals.

While you can find information online about do-it-yourself asbestos abatement, it is highly recommended that you do not attempt to disturb asbestos-containing materials in any way.

If you find friable asbestos products in your home, you may carefully wet them to prevent them from releasing fibers until you can get a licensed professional to assess your home.

These professionals are highly trained and certified to follow all federal and state laws governing asbestos abatement and disposal. If you don’t hire a professional, you are likely to break one of the many laws that regulate asbestos, and you run the risk of facing a serious fine or penalty.

How Is Asbestos Recycled?

When recycling asbestos, microwave thermal treatments or milling it at high speed heats the substance, creating non-hazardous materials such as glass or porcelain. Relatively recent private sector and U.S. Department of Energy developments in technology make it possible to transform asbestos products into nontoxic materials, but the process is complex and expensive.


The most established method heats asbestos-containing materials in a sodium hydroxide solution above 1,250 degrees Celsius to break down asbestos. The process results in thermal decomposition of asbestos fibers and produces a type of nonhazardous glass. The glass can be used to create ceramic and stoneware products or it can be used as aggregate for roadways and concrete.

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