Help Prevent Fires in the Waste Stream

Being able to sit by a crackling fire has made the extreme cold weather over the past few weeks somewhat bearable. When the fire has gone out, it is a common misconception that the ashes are cold, however that is most often not the case. Ashes, even though they appear to be cold, can reignite, causing significant damage not only to waste collection bins, like the one in the photo, but can also damage transfer station buildings as well as the collection trucks that pick up the waste in these locations. 

Ashes should never be placed out for waste collection directly from the fire place, even if they appear to be cold. Instead, place them in an ash bucket and pour a little water over them (like you would a campfire), leaving them sitting in a well-ventilated location for several days. Alternatively, they can be added to your compost or spread in a flower bed or garden, providing nutrients and minerals such as lime and potassium. 

Another potential fire source are cigarette butts. A tossed cigarette butt can smoulder for hours eventually starting a fire. For this reason, all of our sites are non-smoking except for in designated areas. Smoking in vehicles is prohibited at our landfill, and this is a good practice to follow at our Transfer Station sites as well. Cigarette butts discarded into a garbage collection bin can also ignite, starting a fire. Cigarette butt receptacles should be treated in the same manner as fireplaces ashes and not dumped directly into the garbage bin. 

There are other, less obvious potential sources for a fire to ignite in the landfill, transfer station or collection truck. These include items such as lithium batteries, disposable propane tanks, aerosol cans and other flammables. 

Lithium batteries, which are used to power cell phones, laptops and power tools, can spark a fire not only in the landfill or transfer station, but in the collection truck that hauls it for disposal. It is important that these items and their batteries not be placed in the waste stream. Instead, they should be disposed of properly in a recycling program. If you have questions about the correct way to dispose of these items, please speak with any of our scale or transfer station attendant staff and they will direct you to the proper location to place these no longer wanted items so as to reduce potential fires.

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