150 facility fires reported in the waste & recycling industry in six months
The issue is more serious than one might think, but there are solutions
Does anyone know how many fires have occurred at Waste & Recycling facilities so far this year? When we first launched the Fire Rover, we searched everywhere for this information. We have had conversations with executives, operations leaders, safety teams and institutional investors and, although we gained invaluable market information, no one seemed to have access to the data we sought. If you’re reading this article and you know the answer, please share; but in lieu of a source, we attempted to figure out a way to compile the information on our own.
Initially, we looked to our friends across the pond for guidance. In the United Kindom, CFOA reported* 250 fires annually in 2015 at waste & recycling companies. The equivalent number in the US would be well over 1500 fires annually based on an extrapolation of population alone.
For the six months from Feb 2016 until July 2016, US & Canadian waste & recycling facilities have experienced 150 reported fires. This data was compiled from news articles we found by searching for the keywords fire + "transfer station"; "MRF"; "shredder"; and "recycling." These fires ranged from small incidents to complete burnouts and occurred in all types of recycling operations including those for metals, rubber, pulp, paper, C&D, plastics, waste, wood, food, hazard materials, chemicals, fuels and more.
Keep in mind that this data only contains "reported" fires shown through Google search. We can assume based on our experience that the number of "non-reported" fires that occur on a daily basis in recycling operations across the US is significant.
This snippet is from one of the numerous articles we came across during our research and highlights the non-reporting fire issue: "From what neighbors in the area say, these fires happen almost daily and have for years. "I saw the media and I thought, that's a surprise because this happens all the time. And I thought, 'Why now this serious interest?" Lund said. But the fires, believe it or not, aren't their main concern. They said that not being notified is what got their blood boiling."** Some would suggest this is a majority, others different, but no matter your thoughts on this, every fire is one too many, especially when viewed in the light of the injuries sustained during these events.