'Don't do it': Warning after dangerous recycling habit sparks fire

Households have been warned against a dangerous recycling habit after an irresponsible disposal left a residential street covered in smouldering rubbish.

A trail of smoky debris blanketed a street in Mount Warren Park in Logan, in Queensland’s southeast, after a hazardous battery was thrown into a recycling bin collected on August 24.

Footage showed an entire recycling truck’s load dumped onto the street while a worker used a hose to extinguish the burning.

Locals emerged from their homes to watch the chaos unfold as a huge clump of smouldering waste lined the nature strip in front of several neighbouring properties.

Photo shows a recycling truck and its load spilled onto the ground in Queensland.
The recycling truck's load was filmed smouldering on the residential street. Source: Supplied

The dangerous scene caused a stir after being shared online, with social media users shocked the truck itself didn’t catch fire.

“Wow, that is going to take some cleaning up. Lucky the truck didn’t go up in flames too,” one wrote after the video was shared to a rubbish bin Facebook group.

“That's a really bad day for that poor guy,” another wrote.

Some speculated over what could have ignited the flames, suggesting electronic waste, cigarette lighters or aerosols to be possible culprits.

The most likely cause however was revealed by the Fleurieu Regional Waste Authority based in South Australia.

“Don’t put your used batteries into your waste or recycling bin! It's likely that the material and the collection truck can catch on fire,” the waste authority wrote in a post re-sharing the fiery video.

“A better idea is to drop your used batteries off at your local waste and recycling depot for free.”

The post said the video was a “good example of what can happen when you put batteries in your recycling or waste bin”.

Can batteries be binned?

The general advice for batteries is that all types are better to be recycled at the right outlets than tossed into the roadside rubbish bins.

If rechargeable and lithium ion batteries are thrown out, they could spark and start fires similar to what was shown in the video.

Laptop, mobile phone, power tool and camera batteries all fall into this category, according to Recycling Near You.

The best way to dispose of batteries is to drop them at a council collection depot, or recycle them through places like Aldi, Battery World or Officeworks.

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