Incorrectly disposed batteries, BBQs and electrical goods all pose fire risk warn Veolia and Southwark Council

Katherine Johnston (22 July, 2020)

Batteries and most electricals can be recycled

37910Lithium batteries can cause fires in hot weather when not disposed of correctly

Veolia and Southwark Council are appealing for people to safely dispose of waste this summer to prevent fires starting from discarded BBQs, batteries, and electrical goods.

Lithium-ion batteries can start fires when incorrectly disposed.  They should not be placed in household bins.  Most can be recycled, with supermarkets often having a disposal point in store.

Alternatively, they can be taken to a local household reuse and recycling centre to be turned into something new.

Hot coals are another cause of preventable fires seen in summer.  They should be covered with sand and water first to ensure they are completely cold before being added to the general waste bin.  This should take around two days.

Electrical items, such as toasters, should be recycled.  To find out how, visit the council’s website as there are often separate collections for these types of goods.

Gavin Graveson, executive vice president at Veolia UK and Ireland says: “Items that generate heat and electricity can easily combust in the back of waste vehicles or at our recycling and waste facilities. This is extremely dangerous and can result in fires.

“People also forget that batteries and electrical items can be recycled.

“We should be doing everything we can to capture these materials to preserve our precious resources and protect the green economy.

“When residents are unsure of what can and can’t be put in their household recycling and waste bins, they should play it safe and check their council website.”

Councillor Richard Livingstone, Southwark Council’s cabinet member for environment, transport and the climate emergency, said: “Bin lorry fires are dangerous and avoidable, and we all have a role to play in preventing them.

“Both something as small as an AA battery and something as obvious as glowing barbecue coals can cause untold damage and, more importantly, put refuse staff at risk.

“We want to thank everyone who is doing their best to reduce, reuse and recycle and ask that we all remember to recycle batteries – most supermarkets take them – and dispose of electrical items and coal responsibly.”

Find out more

Barbecue coals


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