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Dumb disposal puts lives at risk

Posted: 2pm 08 Sep 2020

Gas cylinders, syringes, batteries and asbestos – these are just some of the dangerous items found at Moreton Bay Region tips.

A full barbeque gas cylinder was recently pulled from a truckload of collected recyclables at the Narangba Waste Management Facility, narrowly avoiding a potential explosion or fire.

Mayor Flannery says the life-threatening incident is a stark reminder to residents of the need to dispose of their waste correctly.

“The fact that nothing went wrong from the wheelie bin, to the collection truck, to processing at the recycling facility is a miracle,” Mayor Flannery says.

“This could have been a real catastrophe and, unforgivably, it’s become all too common for our frontline waste handlers to come across dangerous objects and unsavoury items on a weekly basis.

“Thoughtless waste disposal literally puts the lives and wellbeing of our waste handlers at risk, and unfortunately the gas cylinder is just one example of the serious dangers of their job.

Call to think about waste

“I’m not asking you to be Captain Planet, but I am saying we each have an individual responsibility to think about what we put in our bins at home, at work or while out and about,” Mayor Flannery says.

“Although our staff dealt with this situation in a professional manner and no one was harmed, if that gas bottle had been crushed the explosion would have been disastrous.

“If you’re at all confused Council’s website has a comprehensive list of what you can and can’t throw into bins and what should be taken to a waste management facility for correct disposal, so please check it out if you don’t know what to do with an item.”

Problem items

Batteries: Dispose of these at Council’s major waste facilities or participating battery recycling retailers. Fire and safety hazards can occur if placed in wheelie bins or with mixed household waste.

Syringes, nappies and medical waste: Residents are encouraged to contact their medical professional, hospital or local pharmacy to find out how to safely dispose of medical waste, including out of date or unwanted medicines. Limited medical waste can be accepted in general waste wheelie bins, including diapers, dialysis bags, and less hazardous medical equipment with human tissues and body fluid, soiled bandages, gloves and x-rays. Medical waste must be enclosed and sealed inside heavy plastic bags to prevent leakage.

Gas bottles and cylinders: Gas bottles and cylinders are hazardous items which can be disposed of appropriately at Council’s major waste facilities. Never place gas bottles or cylinders in wheelie bins or with mixed household waste. Fires and explosions can occur.

Building materials such as asbestos, bricks, timber and metal: Construction and demolition materials including fencing, roofing, outdoor and internal renovation materials can be accepted at Council’s major waste facilities. Preparation requirements and acceptance conditions apply.

Think about waste workers

“Please remember that your waste only leaves your house thanks to the many hardworking people who collect, transport and manage our waste - I don’t ever want them put at risk by careless or even reckless disposal decisions,” Mayor Flannery says.

You can also checkout the Visy website for further recycling information and what happens with your recyclable items placed in the yellow-lidded recycling bin.

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