Landfill fire shows wrong waste can put people at risk

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On Saturday night it took three fire trucks, two water trucks, and an excavator to put out a fire at the Lakes Creek Road Waste Management Facility (LCRMF).

Councillor for Waste and Recycling Shane Latcham said that while we were lucky this time and no one was injured, it’s a reminder to residents that putting the wrong thing in your kerbside bin or disposing the wrong thing at a Transfer Station or Landfill can put people at risk.

“If you ever tossed an old mobile phone or even a battery in your general waste and thought ‘what could be the harm?’, well incidents like this are the answer,” Councillor Latcham said.

“As rubbish is being compacted in a truck or at the landfill it only takes one spark to set off a fire that can really put our staff and the community in danger.

“Just a couple of months ago we had a truck that had to dump its load of recyclables on the street in Bouldercombe because something caught fire in its load. Luckily the driver reacted quickly, but it still cost us thousands in clean up and repairs.

“And, of course, in November last year the entire Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) burned down after a fire started, which means we’re still having to truck recycling to Mackay and Brisbane for processing while a new MRF is built.

“It’s always hard to tell precisely what starts these fires, but it’s a growing trend here and across the world that we’re seeing more and more fires in trucks and at waste facilities as a result of people chucking out lithium-ion batteries – like those in your laptop or smart phone – in their kerbside bins or at a waste facility.

“If you’re disposing of electronics we ask that you please do it properly. E-Waste can be dropped off for free at the recycling area at the LCRMF or any of our waste transfer facilities.

“Household chemicals as well as paints, batteries and gas canisters can all be flammable as well, and all of these items should be disposed of correctly.

“We’re really urging residents to be aware of the damage that these materials can do if you throw them in your kerbside bins, and to make sure they’re not creating an unnecessary risk.”

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