Northampton residents warned to safely dispose of barbecue coals to avoid fires this summer

A BBQ will be tempting with the hot weather but make sure to deal with the coals responsibly
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A warning has been issued for Northampton residents to safely dispose of their waste to help prevent fires, particularly hot barbecue coals because of the hot weather.

With temperatures set to surpass 30 degrees Celsius today (Friday, July 31), many will be firing up the grill but if coals are not dealt with properly, they can be a danger to the public and waste collectors.

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Only last month firefighters had to extinguish a bin that had caught fire after a disposable BBQ had been thrown into it on Walter Tull Way.

Hot barbecue coals can cause fires if not safely disposed of. Photo: PixabayHot barbecue coals can cause fires if not safely disposed of. Photo: Pixabay
Hot barbecue coals can cause fires if not safely disposed of. Photo: Pixabay

Barbecues are not permitted in Northampton parks but cigarette butts or glass bottles discarded onto the ground - particularly onto the grass - can also be a fire hazard.

Northampton Borough Council cabinet member for environment Mike Hallam said: “We urge members of the public to dispose of all hazardous items correctly and apply due care and attention to the safe disposal of barbecues and coals in bins making sure that they are properly cooled and free from heat.

“Simple steps to correctly dispose of household waste is all that is required to prevent fire incidents and the detrimental impact they have on services and local communities.

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“Let’s all take responsibility for our own rubbish, whether we are at home or out and about in the town’s parks and streets as each one of us can be the change that we want to see around us and make a difference by behaving responsibly.”

But it is not just barbecues and cigarette butts that can cause fires if they are not disposed of correctly.

In January, Veolia, the council's waste collection contractor, revealed only 43 per cent of the public were aware that lithium-ion batteries could cause fires when incorrectly discarded in household bins.

Executive vice president Gavin Graveson said: “Items that generate heat and electricity can easily combust in the back of waste vehicles or at our recycling and waste facilities.

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"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.”

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

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● Cover hot coals with sand and water to ensure they are completely cold (usually two days) before putting them in the general waste bin or bag.

● Do not put batteries in household recycling and waste bins, boxes or bags.

● Batteries and small electrical items can be recycled at the kerbside by placing them in clear carrier bags next to your blue-lidded wheelie bin or recycling boxes on your usual collection day. Please note that batteries and electrical items must be placed in separate bags.

● You can also take batteries or electrical items to your local household waste and recycling centre, where they will be turned into something new.

For more information on what can and cannot go in the household recycling bin, visit

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