Disposal Options for Weed and Pest Waste

Chilean Needle Grass Flower HeadWeed and pest management can be messy business. So what happens to all the wastes that are generated by your activities such as weed parts, feral animal carcasses, unused chemicals and contaminated soil? What practical disposal options are available and exactly how can they be used?

Here are a few of the options that are available to you. Please be sure to check with your local Council / Site Managers to ensure these methods are appropriate for your situation before use.

Burial (carcasses, vegetation, plant parts)
For a simple, low-cost disposal option, it’s hard to go past burial. You’ll reduce the need for transport and hence the potential to spread weeds, pests and diseases. Here’s what you’ll need to do:

  • Designate an area within the property or work site
  • If required, ensure that excavation permits are in place where excavation will be greater than 1.5 m deep
  • Remove top soil and stock pile separately (to retain natural seed bank for regrowth)
  • Prepare the pit to a depth of approximately 2 m (the top layers of soil are warmer and promote more active decomposition)
  • Place materials to be buried within the pit
  • If burying carcasses, add hydrated lime or mix with additional soil to promote decomposition
  • Cover the pit ensuring at least 0.5 m of soil material covers the buried items
  • Dress the pit with the original top soil, mounding where possible to allow for natural settling
  • If original topsoil is not available or if there has been a long interval since the pit was initially opened, rehabilitate the pit with top soil and endemic seeds from the local area
  • To prevent unintended disturbance of the site, signpost the pit “Buried Biosecurity Material” and add the date and depth buried (signpost should remain insitu for 12 months to allow for natural decomposition)
  • Record the date, contents and GPS location for your property documentation.

If you don’t have the capacity to bury waste on site, you might consider sending some materials to landfill. To prevent the spread of weeds:

  • Weed reproductive materials should be sprayed and double bagged prior to disposal
  • Weed reproductive material can be double bagged and ‘baked in the sun’ until reproductive material has been destroyed (note that seeds and bulbs may need to be addressed separately)
  • For weeds that reproduce only by seed, the seeds can be removed and disposed of separately
  • Weed bulbs can be mulched to prevent germination
  • Other material can be covered and transported via truck or trailer to designated green waste areas for processing.

Incineration (carcasses)
Where animals have been ill before death or have the potential to carry disease, you may be advised to dispose of their carcasses via incineration. In this case, carcasses should be incinerated in a pit and all ash buried. The pit instructions provided above for “burial” should be applied as appropriate.

Chemical and drum collection programs
Chemical containers and drums can be disposed of via a number of collection programs:

  • Empty chemical drums should be triple rinsed, then taken to a Drum Muster approved collection centre
  • Expired but unused chemicals can be collected and disposed of via ChemClear or a similar regional collection program. Your local Council may be able to provide further details.

Regulated waste provider
To prevent the spread of weeds, pests and diseases, there are a number of waste materials that require special disposal arrangements. Quarantine waste, as well as waste water, silt and debris (from wash down facilities and triple interceptors), should be disposed of via a regulated / contaminated waste provider.

How do you dispose of your weed and pest wastes?