Kirklees urged to increase vape vigilance following HWRC fire

Suez and Kirklees council have urged residents to use new vape recycling bins at their local household waste recycling centres (HWRCs), following a fire at Weaving Lane HWRC.

With the government set to ban disposable vapes by April 2025, research by Keep Britain Tidy estimates that disposable vape litter has doubled in the past two years. 260 million single-use vapes are said to be thrown away in the UK every year.

The Recycle Your Electricals campaign said that Brits are chucking away almost eight single-use vapes every second.  And in a recent study by Truth Initiative, over 50% of people reported that “they don’t know how” to properly dispose of these devices.

The impact of throwing away disposable vapes in waste or recycling bin also poses a “significant threat” to workers at waste and recycling facilities, Suez has said.

According to estimates from Suez’s materials recovery facility in Huddersfield, 1,000 vapes are captured every day, but many more are missed.

‘Costly damage’

Nick Browning, general manager at Suez, said: “It is so important that residents dispose of their vapes safely and keep them out of their bins at home. When vapes are crushed by the compactor in a collection vehicle or damaged whilst being moved around one of our waste facilities, even batteries that have run out can retain enough energy to spark a fire, as seen at Weaving Lane last week, which can endanger lives. Whilst we try our best to catch and separate them, we cannot find them all.”

David Shepherd, strategic director for growth and regeneration at Kirklees Council, said: “Thanks to the quick actions of the staff and fire service, last week’s fire at Weaving Lane Household Waste and Recycling Centre was caught early, and the damage at the site was contained. However, there were over 1,200 fires in bin lorries and waste sites across the UK last year, and with dry waste acting as fuel for any battery fires that start they can cause vast amounts of damage quickly. This puts our waste operatives at risk and could cause incredibly costly damage.

It’s important that any items that contain batteries are disposed of safely using the vape and electrical skips on HWRCs, independent recycling points throughout the district, or by using our bulky waste collection service. Any items that are still usable can be donated to our reuse shop, or taken to donation points at Emerald Street and Weaving Lane HWRCs.”

To find out more about changes in the sector, visit the National Civic Amenity Site/HWRC Conference 2024 on 27 June at the Greater Manchester Renew Hub in Manchester To book tickets to attend or for more information please click here.

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