Exploding vapes causing 'life-threatening risk' for bin lorry workers

There has been a rise in vapes and e-cigarettes combusting in bin lorries and waste transfer stations.

Vape fires cause ‘serious life-threatening risk’ for bin lorry workers, says Scottish Borders Council Getty Images

A Scottish council is asking vapers to recycle responsibly after a number of “near-miss incidents” posed “a risk to life” for waste disposal staff.

Borders Council has reported a rise in incidents where vapes and e-cigarettes have combusted in bin lorries or at waste transfer stations.

The devices – which contain lithium batteries – can overheat if not recycled correctly.

The authority has deployed dedicated vape recycling bins to all of its centres – Galashiels, Hawick, Selkirk, Duns, Peebles, Eyemouth, and Kelso – to avoid fires breaking out in the future.

Jenny Linehan, executive member for environment and transport, said the items cause a “serious risk to life” when disposed of incorrectly and urged people to use the new bins.

“This increases the risk of fires in our waste collection vehicles or in our waste transfer stations as the batteries overheat rapidly and can spontaneously combust,” she said.

“We’ve recently had a number of dangerous incidents caused by fires started by vapes and when this happens it can cause a serious risk to life for the staff working in these areas and damage expensive equipment paid for by the taxpayer.

“With this in mind I’m appealing to any users of vapes and e-cigarettes to make the effort to dispose of these items correctly for the safety of our staff and to ensure we can properly recycle these mass-produced items.”

According to Zero Waste Scotland, an estimated 26m disposable vapes were thrown away in Scotland in the last year – with more than half being disposed of incorrectly.

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