Crew professionalism praised and warning about safe disposal

Published Friday, 10 May 2019

A waste collection crew is being praised for their quick response and residents being warned about being careful of what is disposed following the discovery of small fire in their collection vehicle.

The incident, which occurred whilst refuse collections were being picked up in Bickley, was quickly dealt with by Veolia’s crew who contacted emergency services. The London Fire Brigade escorted the vehicle back to the Baths Road depot where the smouldering waste could be safely dealt with.

The London Fire Brigade, supported by Veolia’s staff, quickly discovered that the smouldering waste was contained in one refuse sack which had been recently picked up.  This refuse sack contained a discarded high performance lithium polymer battery, with wire leads, which would have most probably been used to power a remote controlled toy car or plane etc.  Owners of these type of batteries are reminded to read the safety instructions which come with these products, where the risk of fire is outlined, along with how to dispose of the battery, including discharging remaining power.

Councillor William Huntington-Thresher, Executive Councillor for Environment and Community Services said, “Although these incidents are rare, fires from damaged batteries are becoming more common and it is a timely reminder to all of us to properly dispose of our waste, mindful of the potential dangers of incorrect disposal.  No batteries and especially Lithium polymer or Li-Ion batteries should be disposed of as refuse, they should be taken to one of our Reuse and Recycling Centres in Waldo or Churchfields Road – where they can properly be disposed of and recycled, without the same fire risks they otherwise pose. Many retailers also have collection points for regular batteries.  Please also think of other items which should be thoughtfully disposed of to help protect the staff making the collections. Please carefully wrap broken glass for instance so that it doesn’t present a danger to collection crews.”

Matthew Elmer, Contract Manager for Veolia Bromley added, “We are consistently proud of the professionalism of our crews. They quickly recognised the problem and took action to prevent a more serious incident. The safety of our staff and the public is of paramount importance and we will also use this incident to remind all of our teams to be vigilant during the course of their collections and to follow the correct safety procedures when an incident occurs. ”

Advice about how to dispose of unusual items, including bulky waste, is listed on the Council’s website with specific advice also available by making direct contact if needed.


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