Calls for proper use of blue bins follows second fire at sorting facility in as many days

News source from CTV News

One day after a fire at the Cascades Recovery sorting facility halted blue cart collection, an improperly disposed battery sparked a second fire prompting city officials to issue a reminder on what goes in what bin.

Sharon Howland, leader of program management with the City of Calgary’s Waste and Recycling Service, wants an increase in spot checks of blue bins to ensure the items inside are suitable for recycling. Workers inspect the contents of the cart and leave a tag indicating any issues.

“What the tag says is the material needs to be removed for the next collection day,” said Howland. “We find Calgarians are good and 80 per cent of them resolve the issue before the next collection day.”

As all bins cannot be checked on a regular basis, the City has created the ‘What goes where?’ online tool to educate Calgarians on proper disposal. Among the items that do not belong in blue carts are aerosol cans, batteries and electronics.

Howland says the sorting facility, in the 10300 block of 46 Street S.E., houses flammable material susceptible to an explosion. “We’re talking about a building full of paper. Bad place for a fire to start.”

The exact cause of Wednesday’s fire at Cascades Recovery remains under investigation but Calgary Fire Department Public Information Officer Carol Henke says items that are improperly placed in blue carts, including batteries, carry the potential for danger.

“If you have some nine-volt batteries that are touching then that creates heat and, if those are in your recycling bin, that could cause a fire,” said Henke. “Lithium batteries could overheat. Those are things that could create a risk.”

Under a City of Calgary Bylaw, a home can be fined a minimum of $250 for putting dangerous material in a blue bin but city officials do not believe any fines have been issued for the offense.

With files from CTV’s Stephanie Wiebe

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