Residents urged to dispose of household waste correctly after more than 70 fires in Wakefield
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These items end up causing fires and explosions when they’re crushed in the machinery of bin lorries and waste treatment facilities.
As many as 70 fires have broken out in one year at Wakefield Council’s waste treatment facility, and there have been two fires in bin lorries.
This not only puts workers at risk but disrupts essential services and costs taxpayers money to put right.
Wakefield Council and West Yorkshire Fire Service are raising awareness of the dangers and want people to take greater responsibility for disposing of these dangerous items.
Coun Jack Hemingway, Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Environment, said: “Fires put our staff in danger, they damage equipment, and this means that we have to call on the emergency services. We urge everyone not to put batteries or items with batteries in your bins.”
West Yorkshire Fire Services’ Wakefield District Commander, Paul Daly, said: “Battery fires can be avoided – simply by making sure they are disposed of properly.
“Fires caused by batteries can take hold really quickly and cause huge devastation from what is essentially a tiny piece of equipment.”
People are asked to keep batteries and electrical items separate from other waste that goes in the bin and take these to the household waste recycling centres.
Smaller electrical items can be taken to dedicated battery and waste electrical collection points across the district.
From December the council, working in partnership with Renewi, will be increasing the number of new drop-off points for people to recycle small electrical items, including those with batteries inside.
There will be an electrical recycling bin in every library and drop-off points at 15 more locations around the district.
Fires are happening when batteries and electrical items are mistakenly put into household bins. Items include cordless appliances – which contain lithium-ion batteries – such as DIY tools, e-cigarettes, electric toothbrushes, mobile phones, shavers, and chargers.
Gas canisters and lighter fuels, even if they are thought to be empty, should also never be put in household bins. They can also be crushed in equipment, have caused explosions, and risk the safety of staff doing their jobs.