Battery likely cause of recycling centre fire

June 27 2022

A FIRE that forced Mangotsfield's Sort It waste and recycling centre to shut is likely to have been caused by a battery thrown away with household rubbish.

An investigation by Avon Fire and Rescue Service, reported to a meeting of the area's community engagement forum, found that the blaze was "most likely" the result of "careless disposal of lithium ion batteries".

Li-ion batteries are rechargeable and used in products from laptops and mobile phones to cameras and e-cigarettes. They can also be found as rechargeable regular-sized batteries such as AA and AAA.

The fire service report to the CEF meeting on June 15 said people need to be aware of the potential dangers involved in throwing batteries away rather than recycling them.

Staff and people using the Sort It centre in Carsons Road had to be evacuated after the blaze broke out on May 17, with nearby residents advised to shut windows as smoke was blown towards the Siston Hill estate.

Firefighters were called in from eight different stations as far away as Portishead, Avonmouth and Yate to tackle the blaze.

The tip was out of action for two and a half days afterwards as contractor Suez, which operates it on behalf of South Gloucestershire Council, assessed the damage and did safety checks. The contractor is meeting the cost of repairs, which has not been revealed.

A council spokesperson said: "We are grateful that Avon Fire and Rescue Service came and dealt with the fire so quickly, and for the hard work of staff to get the Sort It Centre reopen again to minimise any disruption.

"Residents can help us to avoid incidents like this by sorting their waste and making sure no recycling is put in the black bin at home or area for mixed, non-recyclable waste at the Sort It recycling centres – particularly electrical items, batteries and gas canisters, which all pose a fire risk unless disposed of properly.

"Many shops and supermarkets have containers for recycling batteries.

"South Gloucestershire residents can put batteries (in a plastic bag) and small electrical items out with their weekly recycling collection."

More information on what to recycle and how can be found at www.southglos.gov.uk/recycleweekly.