Wiser Recycling continues to take steps towards rebuilding a recycling and reuse presence in St Ives, Cambridgeshire following the fire that devastated our waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) facility last September. But with a spate of similar fires across the UK in the eight months since, we are looking very closely at what can be done to prevent a similar incident in future.
In March and April this year, there were incidences in East Northamptonshire and Warrington of batteries catching fire in dustcarts. Earlier this month, ViroGreen was reported to have had a fire break out in a container of WEEE in Worsley. Other WEEE related major fires at EMR in Liverpool and Universal in Mexborough have been reported, though as yet we are unsure as to the source of those fires.
Many of the fires have been blamed on modern lithium batteries which can be fragile and turn volatile and heat quickly with a small amount of damage. With these batteries used widely in laptops, tablets and smart phones, the problem isn’t going to go away, and is one of the major concerns of the recycling industry.
Managing Director of Wiser Recycling, Russell Hirst says: “The risk of fires due to modern batteries is very real. In an effort to reduce the risk, we are currently in discussion with a university, engineers and fire suppression companies with a view to working together to ensure that we can confidently replace our small WEEE systems and implement a fire suppression system that will greatly reduce the risk of fire, particularly from these batteries”.
Watch this space!