Aberdeenshire Council warns of risk of explosion from wrongly recycled waste

North-east residents are being reminded to recycle waste items correctly and safely after potentially explosive incidents occurred during recent household waste collection.

By Kevin McRoberts
Friday, 30th April 2021, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 30th April 2021, 8:41 am
Gas cylinders dumped in recycling bins could have resulted in serious damage to vehicles.
Gas cylinders dumped in recycling bins could have resulted in serious damage to vehicles.

A number of small propane gas cylinders had been deposited in blue-lidded recycling bins which were unwittingly emptied into Aberdeenshire Council’s refuse lorries.

They were only spotted when they reached the transfer station for processing.

Ros Baxter, waste manager at Aberdeenshire Council, said: “It is a sheer miracle that these gas cylinders remained intact during the collection process. Had they been crushed and damaged, they could have exploded which would have caused serious damage to the vehicles.”

Although the cylinders were the most dangerous items discovered, they have not been the only items of wrongly-recycled materials to be traced in recent months.

Broken electrical items, glass, metals, hard plastics, polystyrene, clothing, bedding and other materials have all been found contaminating recycling collections. There have even been instances where bagged dog waste and used nappies have been dumped in recycling bins.

Electrical appliances or ‘WEEE’ should be taken to one of the council’s household recycling centres which enables them to be reprocessed off-site. The centres also accept gas canisters, metal, rubble and wood.

Aberdeenshire Council operates 90 recycling points across the region and a growing number of supermarkets have textile banks for old clothes – no matter what condition they are in – which can raise money for local schools and charities.

Ms Baxter continued: “Contamination of recycling is a real concern for us and it could result in us having to send an entire batch of recyclable material to landfill which costs the council – and ultimately the taxpayer – money.

“I would encourage everyone to visit our website where they will find clear advice on what type of material we accept in household recycling collections and what items can be properly disposed of at our household recycling centres.”

For clear advice on what waste goes where, visit www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/waste/household-rubbish/a-z-list-of-materials.