Orica launches new bid to send toxic waste from Sydney to France for disposal

Chemical company Orica has launched another bid to ship toxic waste to Europe for destruction.

The firm has been searching for a solution to dispose of 16,000 tonnes of hexachlorobenzene (HCB) stored at its Botany plant, in Sydney's south, for more than a decade.

Yesterday it lodged an application with the federal Environment Department to ship 132 tonnes of the toxic waste to France.

The shipment would pass through Singapore, Egypt and Portugal before arriving in France, where it would be destroyed in a specialist high-temperature incinerator.

Once the first shipment has been completed, further applications will be made over several years until the total stockpile is destroyed.

Adam Walters, from Greenpeace, says incinerating the waste could potentially release harmful emissions and Orica should consider alternative solutions.

"The destruction of the toxic chemicals will result in other toxic chemicals potentially entering the atmosphere," he said.

"Also Australia is a party to the Basel Convention which requires Australia to deal with its toxic waste within the country to minimise trans-boundary movements of it."

Mr Walters says Orica should treat the waste in Australia.

"The volumes of toxic material that Orica have are large enough to warrant a facility being built here," he said.

Orica says its application is compliant with Australia's treaty obligations.

In 2010, plans to ship 6,000 tonnes of HCB to Denmark fell through after pressure from environmental groups.

Attempts to ship the waste to Germany in 2007 were also stopped by protests.

It could be several months before a decision is made.