There is an alarming rise in the number of explosive and hazardous materials British Columbia residents are placing in BC’s residential packaging and paper recycling system. BC’s major recycling collectors and processors have seen an increase in fires in 2019, with several of them having endangered lives and forced the temporary closure of facilities.
Hazardous waste like propane canisters, lithium-ion batteries included in cell phones and laptops, and other items can catch fire or explode during the recycling process, turning a regular household item into a deadly weapon. In fact, last year in North America, there were 365 fires, 113 injuries. 3 deaths reported.
Hazardous items like these can cause serious harm to recycling staff and facilities. Ensure they don’t end up in your recycling bin:
Batteries for e-cigarettes
Cell phones and laptops (lithium-ion batteries)
Lighters and matches
WHY IS THERE SUCH A RISK?
The risk for fires or explosions is especially high for material collection vehicles and receiving facilities due to the presence of significant amounts of paper. The combination of easily flammable material, the type of machinery used, plenty of oxygen and large amounts of material sorted into piles where sparks can smolder for lengthy periods of time undetected makes the presence of hazardous material especially precarious.
FIND A LOCATION TO RECYCLE OR DISPOSE SAFELY
Find a disposal location so problem items can be processed safely. Contact the Recycling Hotline at 1-800-667-4321 or 604-RECYCLE (604-732-9253) or click the BC Recycles button below to link to the search tool.
Don’t fuel the danger. Help us prevent any further tragedies by keeping hazardous waste out of your curbside bin. Together, we can make a difference.