Following the fire in one of Rochford District Council’s recycling collection vehicles last week (Wednesday June 29) in Plumberow Avenue, the Fire Service has issued advice about ensuring that hot materials are fully extinguished before they are discarded.
The fire appears to have started as a result of hot embers being placed in a household recyclables bin.
Had it not been for the quick thinking of the driver of the vehicle from the Council’s waste contractor SITA Suez, who emptied the waste from the vehicle onto the road, a major incident could have occurred.
Leading Firefighter Rick Jones, of Hawkwell Fire Station, said: “It seems that someone had put hot embers into their bin and these set light to other materials in the cart.
Crews worked with the cart’s crew to empty the recycling material onto the road so we were able to quickly locate the seat of the fire and extinguish it before it could spread. Disposing of hot embers in the bin is never safe.
Now summer is here, more and more people will be having barbecues, it is vital that ashes from these barbecues are disposed of safely and properly. Empty the spent ash on to bare garden soil – never put it in the dustbin.”
During the clean-up operation, in addition to the presence of hot ashes, it also came to light there was a large amount of contamination in the recyclables that had been emptied onto the road.
The vehicle was transporting materials such as paper, glass, tins and plastics for recycling but amongst the items found were DIY tools and saucepans which should have been placed in the non reyclables bins.
Rochford District Council’s Portfolio Holder for the Environment, Councillor Mike Steptoe, said: “As well as the advice offered by the Fire Service, this incident has also highlighted some of the incorrect materials that are being placed into the bins.
Rochford residents have shown a huge willingness to recycle, and have helped make the District one of the best in the country in terms of recycling rates. However, the incident last week has shown there is still contamination in our waste meaning more materials going to landfill, which, in turn, means we have to pay more landfill tax.
I want to thank everyone who has helped make our scheme such a success so far and also urge them, if they have any queries about which materials go in which bins to get in touch with our recycling team on 01702 318111, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Recycling A-Z on our website at www.rochford.gov.uk/recyclingatoz.”