Disaster Waste Management

Green Industries SA’s nation-leading foresight to include Disaster Waste Management in the State Emergency Management Plan recognises that managing post-disaster debris impacts positively on an affected community’s resilience and recovery.

Global experience shows that developing a disaster waste management plan can greatly improve outcomes by building capacity within individuals and organisations to undertake waste management activities. 

Without contingency planning, volumes of disaster debris have the potential to overwhelm a community’s waste and recycling infrastructure, impede disaster response and recovery activities, and contribute to poor outcomes for human health and the environment. 

Green Industries SA has been the lead agency for the clean-up and removal of waste following the 2019-20 South Australian bushfires. This has ensured the efficient and safe removal of debris to minimise any risk to public health and safety. 

Specialist contractors managed the safe remove asbestos, CCA-treated timber (permapine) and ash and hazardous chemicals such as pesticides, herbicides and fertilisers. Other contractors assisted with arrangements to collect and/or drop-off materials such as fencing wire, burnt fence posts, water tanks, poly-pipe and plastic irrigation hose and drip lines.

Local suppliers were used where possible to ensure economic benefit for the region. Green Industries SA ensured residents were kept updated of progress with the clean-up of their properties and published a weekly schedule to indicate progress.

The Australian Government and the South Australian Government are co-funding the clean-up of bushfire related waste. 

Nation-leading work in disaster waste management

Green Industries SA’s nation-leading work in disaster waste management in response to South Australia’s bushfire recovery and clean-up effort will drive better practices locally and nationally.

In response to the state’s devastating bushfires, a Disaster Waste Management Plan was activated on January 6 2020. Green Industries SA took the lead and co-ordinated a State Recovery Operations Group sub-committee.

Through clearly defined roles and responsibilities and process to manage the waste the clean-up achieved the following results:

  • Greatly impacted the speed and cost of recovery
  • Provided local employment following the bushfires
  • Diverted as much waste as possible for recycling instead of sending it to landfill.
  • Protected human health and environmental outcomes from the disaster particularly in relation to asbestos removal and disposal.

Watch the results of Green Industries SA’s waste management here