Residents in South Oxfordshire have been urged not to put batteries or other items which could cause a fire in their waste or recycling wheelie bin.

Last week two small fires started in rubbish while it was being transported in waste and recycling trucks.  Both were potentially very dangerous incidents to the crews, other road users and pedestrians.  They also caused delays to collections and could have resulted in significant damage.

waste collection bins

The first incident took place while a waste truck was travelling on the A417 in Wantage.  The crew were escorted to a layby by two fire engines where they emptied part of the load so the fire service could extinguish the fire.

The second fire was detected in a recycling load collected in Radley. The fire service attended as crews tipped the load at Biffa’s depot in Culham.  A gas canister was found in the load meaning that, had the fire spread, it could have exploded causing significant damage or injury.

The fires were caused by items residents had put in their bins, most likely to have been standard lithium-ion batteries – like the ones found in most mobile phones.

batteries recyclng

Batteries should be put in a clear plastic bag and left on top of the green recycling bin, while small electrical items, that may also contain batteries, can be put out in a carrier bag alongside the grey refuse bin for separate collection.

Cllr Tony Harbour, Cabinet Member for Waste and Recycling at South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “If an item in a waste truck or at the deport catches fire then it could be extremely dangerous.  I urge all of our residents to check that they are not putting items in their bins which could cause a fire.”

If you need to throw out electrical equipment or batteries don’t put them in either of your wheelie bins.  Please check on SODC’s website or give Biffa a call on 03000 610610 if you are unsure what to do.