Lower your impact

Improving storage

Improvements can be made to...


  • Only store what you need. Good inventory management can save money.
  • Keep all storage areas uncluttered, clean and clearly labelled.
  • Ensure that materials in storage cannot collect, contaminate or mix with rainwater.
  • Ensure storage tanks, including those underground, are not leaking.
  • Store all materials and wastes in separate clearly designated areas.
  • Store hazardous materials undercover and on a sealed surface, ideally in a bunded area. A bund is a hump around a work or storage area that prevents oil, water, and other fluids from escaping to stormwater drains. Bunds are usually permanent installations made from concrete or steel, but they can also be portable plastic or rubber construction.
  • Keep storage areas well ventilated.
  • Ensure chemicals cannot react with others stored nearby. For example, battery acid should not be stored beside brake fluid as they can react violently.
  • Ensure that your store always operates on a 'first in, first out' basis, so that old materials and packages do not accumulate in your store.
  • Check expiry dates for all stored materials.
  • Use drum pumps and/or tilters to completely drain drums before their return to the supplier, alternatively triple rinse drums and other containers and recycle them.
  • Avoid keeping empty containers, unless they have a specific use.
  • Establish clearly signed, segregated areas for appropriate storage of all equipment, materials and wastes.
  • Ensure storage of materials only occurs in designated areas.


  • Establish and enforce standards for housekeeping.
  • Identify activities that add value to your business to improve time efficiency.

Minimise waste

  • Only stockpile wastes if this enables more cost effective recycling.
  • Avoid accumulation of unnecessary items – if you do not need it, get rid of it.
  • Ensure all employees are responsible for the waste they produce.
  • Make sure your staff know what to do with any wastes they produce.
  • Look at what other industries, or companies within your industry, are doing.

Spill response

  • Keep a spill kit easily and quickly accessible in your chemicals storage area.
  • Ensure spills are cleaned immediately with a spill kit, and recycled or disposed of correctly.

If you manage storage properly you can improve workplace safety, reduce risks to the environment and save money through reduced storage losses.

Useful link

Page last updated on 2 Jul 2012