Every year there are reportedly thousands of bin fires nationwide. They are not only a nuisance for the fire service who have to spend hundreds of man hours and resources putting them out, but they are also a danger to buildings and lives.

Often, if a bin is left close to a building the flames can catch – causing a disastrous fire. Lives can be lost and businesses closed down through wanton vandalism and arson. However, there are several things that can be done to eliminate the risk of bin fires and reduce the chance of it turning it an even more serious fire.

First of all, it is important to reduce the chance of somebody starting a fire. Many bin fires are started in residential wheelie bins that are left out overnight. If possible do not to put wheelie bins out until the morning of collection, this will reduce the chance somebody has to start a fire unnoticed.

Keep bins away from buildings. If a fire is started you can reduce the risk to the building from the fire. Also ensure the bin is not overfull. Cutting down the fuel will reduce the fires effectiveness and also it can prevent burning rubbish from spilling to the floor and causing the fire to spread that way.

Don’t leave boxes and other litter around the rubbish bins, if the bin is full, you need another or its time to buy a large external bin instead.


Avoid placing anything that is overtly flammable in the rubbish bin. If you have to dispose of cardboard and paper, try bundling it together tightly, it will be harder for any fire to catch that way.

You may want to consider fire retardant bins, particularly if are a business or local authority. Members of the public can become victims of bin fires and that can leave you facing serious claims, both financial and possibly criminal. Fire retardant bins are already used in hospitals and other places so it may be worth considering replacing the external bins with them.

Anyone wanting more information about bin fires and reducing their impact should contact their local fire service who will be happy to provide additional guidance.

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