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About dangerous goods

Dangerous goods (DGs) are substances that are:

  • corrosive
  • flammable
  • combustible
  • explosive
  • oxidising; or
  • water-reactive.

There may be other unlisted hazardous properties.

DGs can cause explosions or fires, serious injury, death, and large-scale damage. 

The Dangerous Goods Act 1985 (DG Act) defines which substances are DGs. Examples of DGs:

  • flammable liquids (petrol, kerosene, turpentine, flammable paints etc.)
  • corrosives (hydrochloric acid)
  • flammable gases (LP Gas)
  • non-flammable non-toxic gases
  • asbestos
  • explosives.

WorkSafe Victoria administers the Dangerous Goods Act 1985. Further information about what DGs are and the requirements for managing them is on the WorkSafe Victoria website.

This page provides information on wastes that are also DGs.

About waste

Waste in general includes any solid, liquid or gaseous matter, which is:

  • discharged, emitted or deposited in the environment in such a volume, constituency or manner as to cause an alteration to the environment
  • any unwanted, discarded, rejected, abandoned or surplus. 

Waste can be a dangerous good

Many DGs begin their life as a product used in a manufacturing, building or industry process, application or activity. However, when these products have been used and are unwanted, rejected, abandoned or surplus, they are defined as a waste. 

Additionally, any wastes that didn’t begin their life as DG product may also be classified as a DG. This is due to the waste having one or more of the following characteristics:

  • explosive
  • flammable (solid)
  • spontaneously combustible
  • dangerous when wet (reactive)
  • oxidising
  • organic peroxide
  • toxic
  • infectious
  • contains asbestos
  • corrosive.

Wastes that are a DG, due to their original composition, or as result of a process, application or activity, under the legislation administered by the EPA are classified as prescribed industrial wastes (PIW).

PIW are defined at the Environment Protection (Industrial Waste Resource) Regulations 2009.

Find information and guidance on how to manage waste.

Storing of dangerous good wastes

There are several important pieces of legislation governing and providing guidance on the storage of DGs administered by WorkSafe Victoria. 

These include:

  • Dangerous Goods Act 1985
  • Dangerous Goods (Storage and Handling) Regulations 2012
  • Code of Practice for the Storage and Handling of Dangerous Goods 2013. 

In particular, the Code of Practice 2013 provides practical guidance on how to comply with the DG Act for:

  • manufacturers
  • suppliers and occupiers
  • storing and handling DGs.

EPA has the following guidelines about the storing of waste products. These may also be classified as DGs:

There are serious offences that apply under the Environment Protection Act 1970 for storing wastes without the appropriate approvals and or environmental controls in place.

Transporting dangerous good wastes

The transportation of waste DGs must only be done using a vehicle holding a valid permit from EPA to transport PIW. The exceptions to this are:

  • The load is destined for a site that is exempt from the transport permit and tracking system.
  • The net load being transported is less than 50 kilograms or litres, and there is no fee or reward.

A waste transport certificate is also required to track the movement of PIW form ‘cradle to grave’. Waste transport certificates enable information about the PIW waste to be passed on in the waste management chain. This includes the categorisation of the waste and who has had control of the waste.

Transporting wastes without the appropriate approvals is a serious offence under the Environment Protection Act 1970

Disposing of dangerous good wastes

The disposal of wastes DGs (PIW) is regulated by the Environment Protection (Industrial Waste Resource) Regulations 2009. These regulations determine which wastes are considered ‘prescribed’ or subject to more rigorous controls.

These wastes must be disposed of at a place lawfully approved and licensed to accept the waste under the Environment Protection (Scheduled Premises) Regulations 2017.

To find out which facilities are currently licensed by EPA to dispose of waste, call us on 1300 372 842.

There are serious offences that apply under the Environment Protection Act 1970 for disposing of wastes at a place not lawfully approved to accept the waste.

Read next

How to manage industrial waste

Waste and recycling during coronavirus

How to manage asbestos waste

How to dispose of bushfire waste

Composting guidance for operators

How to manage clinical and related waste

How to manage construction and demolition waste

Energy from waste guidance

How to manage e-waste

Glass reprocessing guidance

Hazardous waste management

Temporary storage of prescribed industrial waste (PIW)

Transporting prescribed industrial waste (PIW)

Used packaging materials

How to store waste tyres


This page was copied from EPA's old website. It was last updated on 9 September 2019.

Reviewed 9 December 2021