Prohibited Items Causing Landfill Fires (Archived)

The three Wairarapa Council’s have been asked to distribute the following caution to Wairarapa residents on behalf of their landfill disposal provider, Midwest Disposals.

The last two years has seen a dramatic increase in the number of fires occurring on landfills.  These fires often start during working hours and are extinguished immediately, however those that start after hours get involved quickly and can have devastating effects and costs.  They pose a significant risk to the continued operation of our business, potentially to neighbours, and to those fighting to extinguish these fires on any landfill.

There are three major causes of landfill fires:

  • Lithium-ion rechargeable batteries
  • Discarded emergency flares
  • Hot ashes

The dramatic increase in the use of lithium-ion rechargeable batteries in mobile phones, tablets, laptop computers, gaming and other mobile devices has led to a significant increase in the number of fires occurring at our landfill facilities.  When these lithium-ion batteries are ruptured they can explode or the thermal reaction, that occurs when exposed to oxygen, starts fires within the adjacent waste.  Many Councils offer free battery disposal.

Emergency flares, most often used by boaties, are frequently discarded when they pass their ‘Expiry Date’.  These devices are explosive and contain chemicals that are highly reactive setting alight adjacent refuse when activated, usually by crushing.

Hot ashes, most commonly occurring during winter, are the third major fire starter.  Ideally ashes should have been wetted and/or left for a week before disposal.

The above items are prohibited from landfill disposal.  Fires due to these or other items could cause significant damage and or disruption to our facilities and operations.

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