Disposing of old batteries, coals or ashes in household rubbish or with greenwaste is a major cause of fires at Central Highlands waste facilities and landfills.
Batteries are welcome at the transfer station, but staff are asking people to let them know about any batteries brought in.
‘We are happy to receive batteries and electrical items with batteries in them at our Emerald waste facility, but please bring them in separately from your general waste and let our staff know,’ Coordinator Waste and Environment Geoff Atherfold said.
‘Batteries are full of toxic substances and pose serious fire and health risks to workers and the environment – so it’s important that we keep them separate and dispose of them properly.’
Mr Atherfold said the wheels on the compactor at the landfill were made from metal, when they make contact with the battery; it shorts out and starts a fire.
Extinguishing such a fire comes at a significant cost to council and ratepayers. A fire at Lochlees Landfill in December 2020, meant staff were called to work after hours alongside water trucks and emergency services. In April 2020, a worker spent a night in hospital after inhaling smoke.
‘We don’t know what’s in the waste and toxic smoke poses a significant risk to not just waste facility staff but also emergency services on-site,’ Mr Atherfold said.
Mr Atherfold said it was the same for coals and ashes mixed with greenwaste.
‘Even if you think the fire was extinguished, embers may reignite, so the best thing to do is to hose the ashes with water and spread them in your garden covered with soil or place them in your red top bin after they’ve cooled off and are watered down.’
‘But please don’t bring them into the waste facility with other greenwaste.’
For more information on what to dispose of where visit council’s A to Z for waste and recycling