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
[email protected]

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Snowfall warning continues for parts of B.C.’s Interior

First significant snowfall of the season prompts Environment Canada warning

Hagensborg Water District ratepayers vote to dissolve district

In a close vote of 68 to 63, ratepayers have chosen to dissolve the water district

Bella Coola residents rely on food bank support

Your volunteers at the food bank work year-round, but are especially busy at Christmas

Nimpkish back in service while NSW undergoes repairs

The Northern Sea Wolf sustained damage to its propellers from a log strike in November

Nature Conservancy of Canada purchases Tidal Flats

Land critical habitat for migratory birds, mammals and fish

VIDEO: SNL skewers Trudeau’s mockery of Trump in high school cafeteria sketch

The three world leaders won’t let Trump sit at the cool kids’ table

Kovrig clings to humour as ‘two Michaels’ near one year in Chinese prison

Their detention is widely viewed as retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Chinese high-tech scion Meng Wanzhou

B.C. VIEWS: An engine that hums right along

First Nations are leading a new surge of investment in B.C.

Brain injury from domestic abuse a ‘public health crisis,’ says B.C. researcher

Nearly 80% of the domestic violence victims who reported to police last year were women

Campbell River mom’s iPhone containing priceless photos stolen from Victoria hospital parkade

The phone contained photos, heartbeat recordings of her late son

Miller nets winner as Canucks edge Sabres 6-5 in OT

Roussel, Leivo tally two apiece for Vancouver

‘Norovirus-like’ outbreak interrupts Bantam hockey showcase in Greater Victoria

Several athletes were sent home, quarantined on the ferry

$578: that’s how much your first distracted driving ticket will cost with recent premium hikes

Over 50 per cent of Canadians admitted to using phone while driving last year, according to study

Kelowna man attempts to steal bait bike from RCMP parking lot

38-year-old Brian Richard Harbison is facing several charges

Most Read