Careless waste disposal sparks fires

Careless waste disposal sparks fires

Gas cooker canisters and batteries explode in rubbish trucks

Published: Friday 27 November 2020

Hazardous gas cooker canisters and lithium batteries are on the rise in rubbish and recycling trucks in Auckland and causing fires at the Transfer Station as these materials are dumped. Kerbside collectors and bin inspectors are also spotting more of these items in the kerbside bins in Central Auckland. 

“Because of the compacting equipment in our trucks, there is a significant chance of a fire occurring when items are crushed. Electronics and gas items should never be placed in kerbside rubbish or recycling bins,” says Councillor Richard Hills, Chair of the Environment and Climate Change Committee. 

Councillor Hills says the vigilance of truck operators and rigid safety protocols have avoided any injuries, but this is a risk that no one should have to face.

“As a simple rule, anything you plug in may pose harm to our staff, contractors or the public if it goes in your bin,” says Councillor Hills. “When you dispose of these things correctly, it also means that more of this waste might be able to be recycled, saving valuable materials from landfill and helping our environment.”

“The careless act of putting a flammable item in the bin costs everyone because emergency services can be sent to the scene, there’s disruption to the collection services, and an added cost of cleaning up the contaminated materials. The truck needs to go through a full service and check before it can be deployed back in circulation. If the fire is in recycling, then not only is the material combustible due to paper and plastics that can catch fire quickly, but the whole load is destroyed, sending around six tonnes of recyclable materials to landfill.”

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