Your Obligations with Hazardous Waste

Home isolation and lockdown laws over the last few months have sparked a home renovation boom!

But while the dangers of DIY home maintenance have been well publicised, very little has been written about how to store the leftover paints, thinners, batteries, cleaners, aerosols oils and other flammable household waste left after we finish our to-do list.

Under most strata titles, the owners corporation usually has a set of by-laws that prohibit the storage of any hazardous material – which includes things like:

  • Asbestos
  • Computer materials
  • Gas cylinders
  • Certain garden chemicals –

in apartments, storage cages or garages.

However, hazardous substances such as:

  • Solvent-based paints
  • Pesticides
  • Car batteries
  • Motor oils
  • Ammonia-based cleaners
  • Petrol or kerosene
  • Mobile phone batteries and
  • Inkjet printer cartridges 

are stored more often than you might think and can be just as deadly.

Although common and seemingly innocuous, many of these products contain harmful elements which can be dangerous to dispose of, including hazardous or flammable liquids or components, making them unsuitable for normal rubbish disposal.  It is also illegal to tip them down the sink, toilet, or gutters, or to bury them in the ground.

Unfortunately, what seems like a harmless product being stored, can be potentially life-threatening meaning the disposal of hazardous goods is vital!

When seeking to dispose of these type of items it pays to check first with your local council to see if the materials are actually accepted at their listed depot or if not, when they are due to stage their next chemical clean-up day.


Many local companies and councils may accept recycled materials, and it is worth the time discussing:

  • Swap programs
  • Recycling options
  • Drop-offs
  • Collections.


Effective risk management is also not just the responsibility of individual lots owners and tenants.

Each owners corporation also has a collective responsibility for the safe storage of all hazardous material used in common areas such as gas for communal barbecues or chemicals for the swimming pool.