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Fire prompts warning on waste chemical disposal

Tasmanians have been urged to dispose of waste chemicals appropriately.

The warning follows investigation of an incident earlier this year when garbage from a skip bin ignited in the rear of a refuse truck and had to be ejected on to vacant land in Brown’s Road at Kingston.

As a precaution, the Tasmania Fire Service evacuated several residences and local businesses after laboratory chemicals were identified in the burning refuse.

The Director of Environmental Management, Warren Jones, said an analysis of chemicals recovered from the fire identified several compounds that were highly reactive and may have been responsible for starting the fire.

He said laboratory chemicals may have been illegally placed in the skip by an unknown party. The skip bin had been left unsecured by the lessee.

"Laboratory and hazardous household chemicals are classed as controlled wastes in Tasmania and require appropriate storage, handling and disposal to avoid incidents such as this," he said.

"The Environment Division also urges skip bin operators and owners to consider the security of their bins and to take reasonable steps to ensure that only non-hazardous waste is placed in them."

Warren praised the efforts of Veolia Environmental Services Pty Ltd, the operators of the garbage truck, for effective management of the incident and appropriate disposal of the chemicals involved.

He reminded members of the public to minimise the purchase of unnecessary chemicals to help reduce the accumulation of chemical waste products in the community.

Anyone unsure of correct disposal procedures for controlled wastes should contact the Environment Division for further advice on (03) 6233 6518.

ChemClear® offers a service for the safe collection and disposal of unwanted farm and industry chemicals.

Unwanted chemicals should be registered with ChemClear® either on their web page or by calling 1800 008 182.