Aylesbury Vale District Council (AVDC) and Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service are calling on residents to correctly recycle batteries and small electrical appliances in order to prevent fires.
This advice follows a number of fires breaking out on board AVDC waste trucks in recent months, with the ignited loads having to be dumped on the road to stop the spread of fire.
Here's our report from one of these fires from April.
While unwanted batteries and small electrical items can be recycled at the kerbside, it’s vital that they’re not put into the general waste or recycling bins, as they can ignite and cause a fire.
Instead, they should be placed inside a standard carrier bag and then left on top of one of the bins. These will then be collected by AVDC crews on the day they normally empty the bin.
Items that can be collected by AVDC crews include:
-Mobile phones and chargers
-Small electrical power tools
If the electrical item is larger than a shoe box (for example, microwave ovens and car batteries) it will need to be taken to a Household Recycling Centre. Alternatively, residents can arrange for it be collected by ourselves using our Bulky Waste Collection Service (aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk/bulky-item-collection).
Station Commander Steve Cook from Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service said:
“Fires in waste trucks place firefighters at risk from a wide variety of hazards, not only from the fire and smoke but also from the waste material itself. Often these fires begin deep in the load and smoulder undetected, and may only be discovered when the load is transferred at the waste depot.
“Fires involving batteries and discarded electrical appliances have a significant impact on our resources – the average waste truck fire takes eight firefighters around three hours to deal with. Should the fire involve the waste depot itself then the fire can last for several days, requiring 30 or more firefighters.
“However, if residents recycle correctly, these fires can be avoided in the future.”
AVDC Cabinet Member for Waste and Licensing, Cllr Sir Beville Stanier, commented:
"The recent fires in our waste trucks have been very concerning for me, but I have been impressed by the swift action of our crews and the local fire service.
"I would ask all Vale residents who want to dispose of batteries and small electrical devices to please dispose of these correctly. This will help prevent any future waste truck fires."
Further information on recycling batteries and small electrical appliances can be found at: aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk/electricals.