Veolia calls on Londoners to help prevent fires and practise safe waste disposal behaviours


With warmer weather expected as the summer continues, Veolia is calling on the public to safely dispose of their waste to help prevent fires. Hot barbecue coals, batteries and electricals can all cause fires, especially when mixing with waste that is drier than usual.

In January this year, Veolia revealed that only 43% of the public were aware that lithium-ion batteries could cause fires when incorrectly discarded in household bins. 

During the summer months hot coals from barbecues are another common cause of preventable fires as they are often mixed with waste before they are fully extinguished.

This summer, London residents are being asked to play it safe with waste by checking their Council webpages for details of how to correctly dispose of electricals and batteriesor by contacting KwikSweep who offer clearance services, and ensuring that barbecue coals are fully extinguished before they are thrown away. 

Here’s how to safely dispose of electrical items and hot coals, to prevent them from combusting: 

  • Batteries: Batteries can be recycled. Most supermarkets will have a safe disposal point in store, or residents can take batteries to their local Household Reuse and Recycling Site, where they will be turned into something new. Do not put batteries in household recycling and waste bins.

  • Hot coals from barbecues: Cover hot coals with sand and water to ensure they are completely cold (usually 2 days), before putting them in the general waste bin. 

  • Electrical items (like toasters): Electrical items can be recycled and some households will even have a separate collection service for these materials. Residents are advised to check their Council’s website for information on the recycling services available at their property. Otherwise, take electrical items to the local Household Reuse and Recycling Site. Do not put them in your household recycling and waste bins.

Gavin Graveson, Executive Vice President at Veolia UK and Ireland says:

“Items that generate heat and electricity can easily combust in the back of waste vehicles or at our recycling and waste facilities. This is extremely dangerous and can result in fires. 

“People also forget that batteries and electrical items can be recycled. We should be doing everything we can to capture these materials to preserve our precious resources and protect the green economy. When residents are unsure of what can and can’t be put in their household recycling and waste bins, they should play it safe and check their Council website.”