Across Lincolnshire, we’ve seen first hand the dangers that carelessly discarded electronics can cause. In July, a Lincoln bin lorry had to shed its load onto a city street after a battery caught fire in the back.
In Boston, an electrical appliance caused a fire in one of their collection vehicles in April. And Bourne Household Waste Recycling Centre had to close for a short time in January as fire crews tackled a blaze that had broken out in the general waste container there.
Rachel Stamp, Waste Partnership and projects manager, said:
“Anything with batteries inside, or with a plug, can’t go in any of your bins at home, and needs recycling separately.
“Waste gets compacted a number of times on its journey from your home to the energy from waste plant or recycling centre, and it takes just one battery to create a spark that can set the whole load alight.
“Just last month our recycling contractor’s hand-pickers pulled out a dozen small electronics – all containing batteries – from their process in just one hour. Items included old TV remotes, games console controllers and children’s toys.
“Thankfully we’ve not seen any injuries from electrical waste fires in Lincolnshire, but it seems to be becoming a bigger problem and we need residents to work with us to keep these items out of their bins and help keep people safe.”
You can find battery recycling points at most supermarkets, and you can recycle electronics and batteries – including car batteries – at your local household waste recycling centre.
If you’re not sure whether or not you can recycle something in your bins at home, leave it out, and then check it out on your district council’s website.
Waste and recycling fires not only present an obvious risk to refuse workers and the fire crews that have to deal with them, they can mean lorry loads of waste and recycling get sent to landfill, as it can’t be sent to the North Hykeham energy from waste plant in case it contains any other electronics. This costs councils in Lincolnshire thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money every year in extra disposal fees.
Dan Moss, Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue’s area manager for prevention and protection, added:
“Fires at waste sites or in vehicles can often be difficult to extinguish, requiring a lot of resources for long periods, and can have serious effects on public health, the environment, and the safety of firefighters and local communities. As waste is compacted and bulked together, there’s plenty of material for fire to spread quickly, and, depending on the type of waste burning, the fumes can be especially dangerous.
“If residents have old electronics or batteries to get rid of, I’d encourage them to think carefully about the most appropriate way to recycle them so as not to risk starting a fire.”
Check you’re putting the right thing in the right bin at home by visiting our bins, waste and recycling pages.
See what you can recycle at your local Household Waste Recycling Centre and find details of your nearest site by visiting Lincolnshire County Council's recycling pages.