Tuesday 14 March 2023
Guernsey Waste is reigniting its dangerous waste awareness campaign to remind islanders not to dispose of items that pose a fire risk in their general waste.
Rachel Scally of Guernsey Waste with Anthony Bougourd of AB Marine beside hundreds of safely returned used and out of date flares following the 2022 campaign.
Records show that since 2021 the number of fires at the waste transfer station at Longue Hougue caused by these dangerous items has reduced. However, Guernsey Waste's message to islanders is not to become complacent.
Among the hazardous waste being highlighted are out of date flares, batteries, electrical items, and gas cannisters.
Rachel Scally, Guernsey Waste's contracts and compliance manager, said; "Last year's campaign saw the safe return and disposal of hundreds of flares, which was brilliant. However, we still witnessed six fires in the machinery at the waste transfer station, caused by either a discarded flare or lithium battery. This is still too many. Luckily the fires were quickly extinguished, and no-one was harmed, but it only takes one item and it could be a much more serious incident.
"Our aim is to eliminate the disposal of these items in household general waste altogether."
In 2020 13 fires were recorded at the waste transfer station, in 2021 this number reduced to eight and in 2022 there were six fires, one of which was due to a flare - the others were more likely to be caused by the ignition of lithium batteries.
Guernsey Waste's campaign slogan "Check before you chuck, don't leave it to luck" highlights household items that can pose a serious risk if thrown away in general household waste or recycling bags.
Carelessly discarded items can endanger lives and cause major damage to property and machinery.
In the past four years Guernsey Fire and Rescue Service attended the waste transfer station on a number of occasions, to deal with fire incidents caused by items that were disposed of as general waste.
Ms Scally said: "Over the past four years, we have had almost 40 separate fire incidents at the waste transfer station, seven of them activated by flares.
"Fortunately, none resulted in serious injury or damage because our fire suppression systems managed to extinguish them. However, we have been lucky so far, because these items could have ignited or exploded at any point from when they were collected through to being processed.
Guernsey Waste's message of "Check before you chuck don't leave it to luck" will appear around the harbours, on posters across the island, and across social media to push the message out to islanders.
A web page (www.gov.gg/checkb4uchuck) identifies the most common dangerous waste items and explains how to easily dispose of them properly.
Besides batteries, they include digital cameras, e-cigarettes/vapes, electronic items, flares, gas canisters, laptops, and mobile phones. These items should never be disposed of in household recycling or general waste bags.
Batteries, for example, can be recycled free of charge atCo-op Grand Marche Stores, Aladdin's Cave, Waitrose, at all schools and the Household Waste & Recycling Centre at Longue Hougue.
Boatowners who may need to replace their flares ahead of the spring should either return them for free to a marine trader (AB Marine, Boatworks+, Marine & General Chandlery or Sunsport Marine) or hand them into the Police Station so they can be safely disposed of.
For information about the Longue Hougue Household Waste & Recycling Centre, including opening times, go to www.gov.gg/hwrc or contact Guernsey Waste firstname.lastname@example.org or call 221234.
Information on how to dispose of waste from commercial businesses can be found at www.gov.gg/commercialwaste.