Plastic bales at Ridge Meadows Recycling Depot, bound for a plant in Delta. (Neil Corbett/THE NEWS)

Bear spray, bullets among hazards that have caused fires at B.C. recycling depots

Recycling BC says that hazardous materials mixed in with paper, plastics are dangerous to workers

Recycle BC is sounding the alarm over the rising number of explosive and hazardous materials being dropped off at recycling depots across the province.

There have been seven fires this year – all caused by dangerous materials – with a number of the blazes temporarily closing down recycling facilities.

“Earlier this month a resident put 58 rounds of live ammunition into their recycling,” David Lefebvre with Recycle BC said in a news release. “We need people to think before they put something that is potentially explosive and deadly into a recycling bin.”

An audit recently done by the not-for-profit recycling organization found that two-thirds of container loads had hazardous materials such as bear spray, bullets and propane canisters mixed in with papers and plastics.

That’s a 47 percent increase over the last five years.

READ MORE: One million recyclable bottles ‘lost’ daily in B.C., foundation says

Not properly disposing of these hazardous objects can prove dangerous for workers who collect and process recycling, and risk of fires or explosions is especially high for material collection vehicles and receiving facilities due to the significant amount of paper on site. The combination of easily flammable material, plenty of oxygen and large amounts of material sorted into piles means that sparks can smolder for lengthy periods of time and go undetected – until it’s too late.

“Sorting and recycling processes are fast-paced, with material constantly getting moved, compacted, and crushed,” said Oleg Vinokurov, industrial engineering manager at Green by Nature.

“A recycling baler can develop pressures of hundreds of pounds per square inch. Compacted at these pressures, any compressed gas cylinder becomes a potential bomb for our employees.”

The organization is reminding the public never to put the following materials in with recycling:

  • Butane and propane canisters
  • Batteries (especially lithium-ion batteries)
  • Compressed gases
  • Ammunition
  • Knives
  • Sharps
  • Bear spray

Recycling BC is urging residents to contact the Recycling Council of B.C. if they aren’t sure how to properly dispose of a hazardous item. The council also has a “recyclepedia” online where anyone can search drop-off locations for specific items.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Victoria student out $600 for lack of e-bike insurance blames confusing rules

B.C. regulation says e-bike motors must turn off if rider stops pedalling, or bike must be insured

Bus crash survivor petitions Justin Trudeau to fix road where classmates died

UVic student’s petition well over halfway to 5k signature goal

Expect rain in normal Vancouver Island intervals, but bigger buckets

Weather Network predicts a typical amount of rainy days this fall on Vancouver Island

Rain raises water levels in Cowichan Lake

Possibility that pumps could be shut down soon

Central Saanich strawberry farmer reports bumper crop

Strawberry season could last well into October

‘I shouldn’t have done it,’ Trudeau says of brownface photo

Trudeau says he also wore makeup while performing a version of a Harry Belafonte song

35 of 87 dogs in 2018 Williams Lake seizure were euthanized due to behavioural issues, BCSPCA confirm

The dogs did not respond to the behaviour modification and remained terrified of humans

Pumps at Cowichan Lake shut down

Recent rain raised water levels enough to halt need for emergency feed to Cowichan River

B.C. ‘tent city’ disputes spark call for local government autonomy

UBCM backs Maple Ridge after province overrules city

Break out the tiki torches: Open fires allowed again in B.C.’s coastal region

All open fires allowed effective at noon on Sept. 18

Man faces 11 charges after accidentally discharging bear spray around Victoria cops

Drugs, weapons found in wake of unintended downtown discharge

B.C. MLA calls on province to restrict vaping as first related illness appears in Canada

Todd Stone, Liberal MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson, introduced an anti-vaping bill in April

Most Read