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Letsrecycle : Spate of fires hit waste sector over Bank Holiday

Date: Tue, 3 May 2011

Blazes at plastics recycling company Jayplas’ Loughborough storage warehouse and recycling business Wormtech’s base at Caerwent, South Wales, yesterday (May 2) are both believed to be arson attacks.

 

Wormtech stressed that its composting operations had been unaffected by the blaze at its South Wales site

The weekend also a second fire in less than two months at SITA UK’s Wallsend Road operation on North Tyneside, which is home to a household waste recycling centre, a waste transfer station and a metals recycling facility.

And, a fire which was first reported at 1.15am today is still blazing at recycling and waste company’s AB Waste Management Ltd’s Darlaston operation. A spokeswoman for the West Midlands Fire Service noting that while it was too early to say what caused the blaze, arson could be among the possible causes investigated.

Jayplas

The fire at Jayplas’ Loughborough facility was first reported by Leicestershire Fire and Rescue in the early hours of May 2, with the fire service stating that 11 pumping appliances were at the warehouse, off Derby Road, tackling a blaze involving around 200 tonnes of plastic.

This morning (May 3), the service added: “We are still in attendance at the scene and currently have three appliances en route in order to relieve the overnight crews. Crews are continuing to damp down and working with employees to remove retractable items from the site.”

While the police and fire service said that the cause of the fire was unknown at this time, Jayplas managing director Jeremy Young this morning told letsrecycle.com that the company believed it had been caused by children.

“That’s probably what we think it is,” he said. Mr Young explained that the fire started among materials stored 40 yards away from the main warehouse but spread across due to the strong winds.

He also stressed that the size of the company’s operations meant the blaze would not have a major impact on its business. “Jayplas is probably one of the largest plastic recyclers in the UK. We have six sites so obviously only one site is down so it will have a marginal impact on business.”

“We started collections today from customers so we haven’t lost any business. It was a large storage warehouse, we stored plastics ready for recycling ready to send onto our recycling sites. Fortunately it’s about not having all eggs in one basket.”

He added: “Obviously we’ve lost the value of the materials but hopefully that’s covered by insurance and we had 40 vehicles but none of those were lost.”

Wormtech

Composting and materials recycling business Wormtech suffered a blaze at its Caerwent base in South Wales on Bank Holiday Monday. Six fire engines attended the fire with arson believed to be the likely cause of the fire.

Director Jackie Powell told letsrecycle.com this morning that the company was “assessing the situation”.  Ms Powell confirmed that paper, cardboard and plastics stored had been destroyed in the blaze and that baling equipment had also been damaged. However, the company’s composting operations are unaffected.

The fires at Wormtech and Jayplas come just a week after a suspected arson attack at WEEE reprocessor Overton Recycling’s Dudley facility (see letsrecycle.com story).

And, one recycler told letsrecycle.com today that the industry seemed to be facing a number of attacks from arsonists: “It is almost like they have something against recycling businesses. I think one of the problems we have is that we are easy prey and our material burns so easily.”

AB Waste Management

The West Midlands Fire Service spokeswoman said that the blaze at AB Waste Management’s site on Cemetery Road in Darlaston involved around 2,500 square metres of household waste in “big piles” and had spread to buildings and machinery.

She noted that it had also spread to a nearby railway embankment, causing the temporary closure of a railway line overnight.

“It’s still burning at the moment”, she said, adding that “there will be an investigation. We’re not aware at the moment whether it’s deliberate but that could be one of the things we look into.”

SITA UK

A spokesman for Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service said that a call was received at 2.11pm on May 1 regarding a blaze at SITA UK’s Wallsend Road site on North Tyneside.  In total 13 appliances were called to the incident, which was over by 5.45pm.

He said the blaze was in a single storey building used for “processing domestic refuse and recycling materials”.

“That building and its contents were seriously damaged and the heat and smoke associated with that. An adjoining two storey building used as offices wasn’t damaged by fire but has light smoke damage,” he added.

A spokesman for SITA UK today told letsrecycle.com that the fire broke out in a general waste container in the site’s household waste recycling centre and that it had only affected this area, which was closed for six hours.

He added: “We have very good procedures in place. We will be launching an investigation into it.”

The fire service noted that, due to the “severity and nature” of the fire, it was “impossible” to determine the exact cause of the blaze.

Category: Recycling
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