Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service and Recycle for Greater Manchester are urging people to store their waste and recycling safely to reduce the risk of fire at home.
This comes as many residents are impacted by reduced bin collections and the closure of Household Waste Recycling Centres due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
With everyone spending more time at home, it is more important than ever to store and dispose of waste responsibly, whether you have kerb-side bin collections or communal bins.
How to safely store waste and recycling:
Check your local council’s website for updates on your bin collections
Keep your bins in a secure place, at least one metre away from your property
Avoid storing your bins under covered areas, such as porches
Don’t overfill your bins or leave loose rubbish around them
Never put batteries or electrical items in your bins – store them safely at home until the recycling centres reopen
Only put your bins out on collection days and bring them in once they’ve been emptied
If you have extra rubbish while the recycling centres are closed, store it securely in a shed or a garage if possible, or in a neat pile at least one metre away from your property
Advice for people living in flats and high-rise properties:
Always dispose of your rubbish according to the building arrangements
Where you have a communal bin room use it but stay two metres away from neighbours
Rubbish should never be stored in corridors, stairs or hallways
Do not store flammable materials like gas on your balcony
Reduce clutter and keep items on the balcony to a minimum
If you smoke, make sure you stub cigarettes out properly and never flick them off your balcony
Never put batteries or electrical items in your own bin or communal bins
Firefighters are also appealing to residents to not burn household waste in their gardens. As well as the risk of the fire spreading, burning rubbish can cause pollution and harm to people’s health.
GMFRS’ Head of Prevention, Area Manager Paul Fearnhead, said: “I urge everyone to follow the guidance on how to store and dispose of your waste. It is imperative that we all do everything we can to reduce the risk of fire in our homes.
“A working smoke alarm is one of the most important things you can do to keep your family safe. It will give you vital extra time to escape if a fire did occur in your home. Now is the perfect time to test your smoke alarm, it only takes a minute and it could save your life.
“If you do come across a fire, don’t take risks or try to tackle it yourself. Get out, stay out and call 999.”
Residents are also being reminded to dispose of their waste responsibly. Leaving waste outside closed recycling centres or charity shops, beside street bins or recycling banks, or on the floor of a communal bin area, is fly-tipping and you could face a £400 fixed penalty notice or an unlimited fine.
David Taylor, Executive Director of Waste and Resources at Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), said: “We understand the impact Coronavirus is having on people’s daily lives and it is great to see so many people showing their support for their local authorities and doing the right thing by staying at home.
“However, we are still seeing large numbers of people turn up to our recycling centres. We announced on Tuesday 24 March that all Household Waste Recycling Centres are closed until further notice, in line with Government’s guidance to only leave the house to buy food, receive medical care, to exercise once daily, or for work that cannot be done from home. It is essential that we all play our part to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
“We are advising residents to safely store any extra waste and recycling at home until the recycling centres reopen again and to make sure they follow the advice from GMFRS to ensure there is no fire risk.
“Councils are working extremely hard to ensure waste collections are maintained so please check your local council website for the latest updates regarding your waste. Staff from the Household Waste Recycling Centres are also being redeployed to assist the councils with maintaining waste collection services from households.”