Managing Waste

Most activities carried out in Antarctica will produce waste, almost all of which is returned to New Zealand for treatment and disposal.  All waste must be correctly handled, whether in the field or at Scott Base. 

We encourage all programme participants to minimise the generation of waste by removing unnecessary packaging and other potential waste before sending items to Antarctica or into the field.

We have developed a streamed approach to managing waste at Scott Base and require all programme participants to dispose of their waste in one of three broad categories: general waste, recyclables, and hazardous waste.

Some materials including polystyrene beads, chips or similar forms of packaging, non-sterile soil, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and pesticides are prohibited and should not be sent to Antarctica.

Additional information and guidance material below:

Annex III to the Protocol on Environmental Protection

Antarctica New Zealand’s Waste Management Handbook 2015-16

2016 Scott Base Waste Stream Poster

The Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty requires sites of past activity, including old waste disposal sites and abandoned work sites to be cleaned up unless they are designated as Historic Sites and Monuments or the circumstances are such that removal would result in greater environmental impact than leaving them in place.

Antarctica New Zealand maintains an inventory of sites of past activity which includes records of deployed field equipment (including all field huts and fuel caches for example) as well as reported sites of historic waste.  The inventory is used to assist in coordinating clean-up activities.

Antarctica New Zealand receives occasional reports of equipment, material and debris in various locations in the field, some of which may have historic or heritage value.  We have developed an evaluation process to assess the historic value of reported items discovered in the field to assess whether such items should be recovered, remain in situ, and whether or not they should be proposed for listing on the list of Historic Sites and Monuments maintained by the Antarctic Treaty Parties.

Additional information and guidance material below:

Committee for Environmental Protection clean-up manual

ATCM Guidelines for handling pre-1958 historic remains

Antarctica New Zealand Standard Operating Procedure on Historic Artefact and Site Management