Abstract Currently, the generated brake lining waste dust, which contains asbestos as its major component, is disposed of into a secure landfill without any additional treatment. As an alternative to this, solidification/stabilization (S/S) disposal of the dust was investigated using Portland cement alone and Portland cement mixed with activated carbon (AC), as the binders. Toxicity Characteristics Leaching Procedure (TCLP) results on the solidified matrix showed that cement was able to immobilize the heavy metals, Ba, Zn, Cr, Pb, Cu and Fe, to within the limits set by the US EPA for TCLP. Addition of AC to the cement reduced the leaching of heavy metals by an additional 4–24% compared to cement alone. The pH of the TCLP leachate extracted from virgin cement, and from dust treated with cement with or without AC was found to increase to 10.9–12.5 as opposed to an initial value of 4.93 for the TCLP extract for the untreated dust. Results of ANS 16.1 (modified) leach protocol revealed that Ba in cement-treated samples showed the highest leach rate, followed by Zn, Pb, Cr, Cu and Fe. The leach rate of heavy metals decreased with progress in time. Cement mixed with AC exhibited similar leach characteristics, however, the leach rate was lower. The linear relationship between the cumulative fraction leached (CFL) and the square root of leaching time in all cement-based samples indicate that a diffusional process is the controlling transport mechanism for the leaching of the heavy metals. The obtained Leachability Indices ( L i) of 7.6–9.1 and 8.3–9.5 for cement and cement with AC, respectively, were low but exceeded the guidance value of 6, which clearly indicates that all the heavy metals studied are retained well within solid matrices. Cement-based S/S hardening times increased from 30 to 96 h as the dust content increased from 40 to 70 wt.%. The resulting solid matrices exhibited a compressive strength ranging from 1 to 12 MPa, which was well above the specified limit of 414 kPa for such matrices. An economic analysis indicates that the disposal costs for the dust in the only available secure landfill would increase by 40.3% if one were to go for the cement S/S option. Addition of AC to the cement would escalate this by an additional 43.8%. Although the S/S of brake lining dust using cement effectively immobilized the heavy metals of concern, cost considerations may hinder the commercial adaptation of this technique for waste disposal unless new regulatory demands are implemented.