We all have a role to play to manage waste safely and reduce the risk of fires at waste and resource recovery facilities. Fires at waste and resource recovery facilities can occur when waste is managed or disposed of incorrectly. These fires significantly impact community health, safety, and our local environment.
The Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action's (DEECA) report into fires at waste and resource recovery facilities shows that the two significant contributors to fire risks are:
- failure of waste and resource recovery facilities to minimise and control the risk of fires so far as reasonably practicable
- the incorrect disposal of batteries.
Other factors that can cause fires include:
- machinery and equipment faults and accidents
- spontaneous combustion
- incorrect disposal of other combustible materials such as non-empty aerosol cans.
Read DEECA's report into fires at waste and resource recovery facilities
What you can do at home
Electronic waste (e-waste), including batteries, should not be put in your bins at home. Putting batteries in a household bin can cause a fire in a garbage truck and at waste and resource recovery facilities.
Since the Victorian Government banned e-waste from Victorian landfills on 1 July 2019, batteries and other e-waste can be taken to a drop-off location.
By doing this, you can help give e-waste a new life and keep harmful materials out of your bins and the environment.
Find a location near you to drop off your e-waste.
What businesses can do
Take waste to a lawful place
All businesses must manage their waste as required by law. Changes to the laws around how businesses manage their waste came into effect on 1 July 2021. Waste duties now apply to all businesses that generate, transport or receive waste.
This means if your business generates, transports or receives industrial waste, you must comply with duties on how you manage the waste and where it goes. You must take reasonable steps to ensure waste goes to a lawful place. A lawful place is somewhere authorised to receive industrial waste under the law.
Different waste and resource recovery centres are authorised to receive different materials. Check online or contact your intended waste and resource recovery centre to confirm it is licenced for the type of waste you have.
Manage fire risk at your business
Waste and resource recovery facilities must take reasonable steps to prevent fires.
EPA guidelines can help you manage fire risks at your business :
- For facilities that receive, store or transport e-waste, and waste batteries, please see 2018: Storage and management of waste batteries – guideline
- For facilities that manage or store combustible recycling and waste materials, please see Management and Storage of Combustible Recyclable and Waste Materials – Guideline
What government is doing
The Victorian Government set up the Fire Prevention Program in January 2021. It aims to reduce the number of fires at waste and resource recovery facilities. We are working with the community and waste and resource recovery sector to:
- ensure correct disposal of e-waste and other combustibles, such as batteries
- improve compliance with controlling the risk of fire so far as reasonably practicable in the waste and resource recovery sector.
This program is being delivered by:
- Department of Energy, Environement and Climate Action
- Environment Protection Authority Victoria
- WorkSafe Victoria
- Fire Rescue Victoria
- Country Fire Authority
- Sustainability Victoria