Bin lorry fire sparks third warning from council after electrical items to blame

The remains of electrical items which almost started a blaze in a �169,000 bin lorry.
The remains of electrical items which almost started a blaze in a �169,000 bin lorry.

A fire in a bin lorry caused by electrical items - the third to affect Boston Borough Council’s waste services - has sparked another warning about recycling ‘banned’ items.

The latest incident happened on the Friday, March 30 rounds and a spokesman for the authority called it a ‘close call’ after the items were pulled from a smouldering Boston bin lorry.

Boston's fleet of bin lorries.

Boston's fleet of bin lorries.

Coun Michael Brookes, Boston Borough Council’s portfolio holder for waste services, said: “A bin lorry costs £169,000 and carries a crew of three, so a fire in the load risks life and destruction of a valuable asset.

“We are repeating again the advice already issued - do not place batteries or any electrical item, which is any item which needs a battery or mains power to make it work, in either your green or blue bins. There is overwhelming evidence that these items can and have caused fires.”

Previous warnings were issued after batteries in Boston’s recycled waste were thought to be responsible for two fires.

The authority said even apparently dead batteries can carry enough of a charge to short and provide a source of ignition.

These can be buried in a pile of as much as 100 tonnes of combustible material at the transfer station operated by Lincolnshire County Council which takes waste from Boston borough and East Lindsey district.

The first fire at the waste transfer station caused some damage to the building and its fittings.

Used batteries can be recycled at most supermarkets. Batteries and electrical items can also be disposed of for free at the new household waste recycling centre in Bittern Way, Boston, which opens on Monday (April16) or any other household waste recycling centre. Large items, such as televisions or desktop computers, can be collected under Boston Borough Council’s bulky waste arrangements – www.boston.gov.uk/bulky or call 01205 314200.

Any of these items in blue or green bins will be treated as contamination and the bins will not be emptied while they remain in them.

Action is already on its way to deal with those who routinely or seriously contaminate their blue bin recycling collection.

There will be a substantial period of education and information before new rules come into effect which could culminate in worst offenders receiving a £75 fine.