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  5. Fire safety upgrades at UK sites Fire safety upgrades at UK sites

Fire safety upgrades at Municipal

Our number one priority is keeping our people safe and well.

The risk of fires in recycling and waste management facilities is very real, putting people at risk and costing the industry millions worth of damage each year. Renewi implements strict control measures to minimise risk to staff, contractors, suppliers and all site visitors.

We are investing in a programme of major fire safety improvement works across the UK Municipal business, focused on improving fire detection and suppression, training and education. We also support the Zombie Battery Campaign, aimed at reducing lithium-ion batteries in waste streams.

Two large-scale projects have been completed at sites of two major contracts, where a fully automatic fire detection and suppression system has been installed. This includes two 500-cubic metre water tanks capable of supplying two hours of continuous water to any detected fire zone. Similar projects at other sites are scheduled for completion by 2025.

In planning fire safety upgrades, we worked closely with our insurers and Marsh Risk Consulting, who are certified fire engineers, to carry out a thorough assessment, and identify key risk areas and the most up-to-date solutions We have deployed the latest technologies, for example automated water monitors in our bio-drying halls, shredder pits and shredders, National Fire Protection Association-standard linear heat detection, temperature alarm cameras and a vast increase in the volume of water held on site.

Reducing fire risk includes educating the public about the hazardous items which should not be discarded in the general waste streams. We support public initiatives like the Environmental Services Association’s yearly Take Charge campaign, which aims to encourage the public to recycle batteries responsibly through raised awareness of the consequences of batteries discarded in waste. At our Household Waste Recycling Centres, guidance is given about the safe disposal of lithium-ion batteries found in many electrical products, such as electric toothbrushes and power banks, gas canisters and aerosols.

We are exploring artificial intelligence to be deployed in the future to detect hazardous items at the beginning of the waste process. This is a rapidly moving area of research and Renewi works collectively with the wider industry to monitor new developments.