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Help stop waste fires – how to safely dispose of flammable items

Throwing flammable items away in your general waste or recycling is dangerous and puts lives at risk, particularly during the summer.

Every fire at waste and recycling facilities, or in a collection truck, has the potential to turn into a major incident which not only puts lives at risk, but can disrupt vital services and infrastructure; cause significant and costly damage to equipment and the environment.

Every year, fire and rescue services have to attend at least 300 significant fires at waste management facilities across England.

The total number of un-reported fires is estimated to be much higher.

If items catch fire in a truck, the whole load has to be tipped on the street and fire services called to put it out.

Help to reduce these risks by disposing of flammable items responsibly

All of us have a crucial part to play in preventing waste and recycling fires by ensuring that we dispose of flammable items responsibly. Here are the main items that cause fires and what you should do to dispose of them safely:

Problem itemWhere it should go
Batteriesa picture of lots of batteriesBatteries go in a clear tied bag on top of your recycling bin or take them to your nearest supermarket disposal point.
Camping gas canisters, liquid fuel and camping stovesa picture of gas cannisters and a camping stoveTake used camping gas canisters, liquid fuel and camping stoves to your local recycling centre, or back to your retailer if they operate a return scheme.
Petrol cans, white spiritsa picture a petrol can and paint thinner canIf you need to dispose of liquids like petrol, diesel or spirits, please take it to your local recycling centre.
Matches, lighter Fluid, cigarette lightersa picture of matches and two cigarette lightersGas lighters must be taken to a recycling centre but empty cigarette lighters and used matches can go in your black bin.
Nitrous oxide canistersa picture of small and large nitrous oxide cannistersPlease take nitrous oxide cannisters to your local recycling centre.
BBQsa photo of a bbaIf you are having a BBQ, make sure fire ashes are completely cool before putting them in your rubbish – allow at least 48 hours after the fire has gone out and raking them through to check first. Alternatively, you can put them on your garden as fertiliser.
Vape devicesa photo a a dozen vape devicesTo dispose of a vape, please put it in a tied carrier bag next to your black bin and our crews will collect it.

If an item seems dangerous, please don’t put it out for collection

If you’re not sure what to do with something, please check via our Binzone service or contact our waste services contractor, Biffa, using the details below.

Contact us - Biffa

03000 610610
(Text phone users add 18001 before dialing)

c/o Vale of White Horse District Council
Abbey House
Abbey Close
OX14 3JE