Residents of Wakefield are being strongly advised against disposing of batteries, electrical items, or gas canisters in their bins.

These items can lead to fires and explosions when they are compacted in the machinery of waste disposal trucks and treatment facilities. Wakefield Council’s waste treatment facility has witnessed up to 70 fires in a single year, with two additional fires occurring in bin lorries. This not only jeopardizes the safety of workers but also disrupts essential services and necessitates financial resources to rectify the situation.

Wakefield Council and West Yorkshire Fire Service are working together to raise awareness of these dangers and are urging people to take greater responsibility for the proper disposal of these hazardous items.

Cllr Jack Hemingway, Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Environment, said: “We want to remind people about how they can help to keep services safe and effective.

“Fires put our staff in danger, they damage equipment, and this means that we have to call on the emergency services. We urge everyone not to put batteries or items with batteries in your bins.”

West Yorkshire Fire Services’ Wakefield District Commander, Paul Daly, said: “Battery fires can be avoided – simply by making sure they are disposed of properly.

“Fires caused by batteries can take hold really quickly and cause huge devastation from what is essentially a tiny piece of equipment.”

Residents are urged to separate batteries and electrical items from regular waste and take them to household waste recycling centres. Smaller electrical items can be deposited at designated battery and waste electrical collection points across the district.

Beginning in December, Wakefield Council, in collaboration with Renewi, will expand the number of drop-off points for recycling small electrical items, including those with batteries. Electrical recycling bins will be available in every library, and 15 additional locations around the district will serve as drop-off points.

Fires are occurring when batteries and electrical items are mistakenly placed in household bins. Cordless appliances containing lithium-ion batteries, such as DIY tools, e-cigarettes, electric toothbrushes, mobile phones, shavers, and chargers, pose a particular risk.

Furthermore, gas canisters and lighter fuels, even if presumed to be empty, should never be disposed of in household bins. These items can be crushed in equipment, causing explosions and jeopardising the safety of staff carrying out their duties.