Buckinghamshire residents are being given a timely reminder to take note of the right and responsible way to recycle electrical items, following a recent fire on one of the council’s refuse vehicles.

The recycling collection truck was on rounds in Amersham when it caught fire last week. Luckily the quick-thinking crew spotted the fire and acted promptly to contain it, calling on the Fire Service to attend. Once the fire was extinguished, the vehicle returned straight to the depot where the contents were tipped out and monitored to ensure no further fires broke out. The cause of the fire was found to be a laptop and battery, which had been placed in a recycling bin for collection. No-one was hurt in the incident and the vehicle was undamaged.

Gareth Williams, Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Environment said: “I know it can sometimes be confusing when it comes to recycling but please remember, not everything can go straight into your kerbside recycling bin.

“We really appreciate the efforts so many of our residents go to when it comes to recycling as much as possible, including electrical items. However, it is vitally important that what we recycle is disposed of in the right way to avoid dangerous incidents like this from happening again. While unwanted batteries and small electrical items can be recycled, it’s vital that they are not put into general waste or recycling bins as they can easily ignite and cause a fire.”

Across Buckinghamshire, batteries can be recycled at the kerbside if placed inside a standard carrier bag and left on top of the resident’s recycling bin. They will then be collected by council crews on the day they normally empty the bin.

Small electrical items (broadly categorised as anything with a plug, battery or charger) should be taken to a local household recycling centre. These items include:

  • Hair dryers
  • Hair straighteners
  • Electric toothbrushes
  • Games controllers
  • Mobile phones and chargers
  • Small electrical power tools

If an electrical item is larger than a shoe box (for example, microwave ovens and car batteries) it will need to be taken to a local Household Recycling Centre. Alternatively, residents can arrange for items to be collected, for a fee, using the council’s bulky waste collection services.

For more information visit the Recycle for Buckinghamshire website.