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South Taiwan recyclers find gas canisters amid smoking waste

After narrowly avoiding disaster, authorities urge public to empty pressurized canisters before recycling

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Gas canisters in a pile of smoking recycled waste. (Kaohsiung City Government Environment Protection Bureau photo)

Gas canisters in a pile of smoking recycled waste. (Kaohsiung City Government Environment Protection Bureau photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — After a recycling truck in Kaohsiung suddenly began smoking on Monday night (Dec. 6), workers on the scene found gas canisters to be the culprit of the would-be disaster.

According to the Kaohsiung City Government Environmental Protection Bureau (EPB), the cleaning team had just returned from deployment in Yancheng District at around 10:25 p.m. The team was about to begin sorting recycled waste when members noticed smoke coming from the truck.

The team immediately unloaded the truck and cooled down the pile of waste with water. The workers later found gas canisters in the pile while cleaning.

Though the recycling staff was able to quickly put out the smoke and prevent a fire, the EPB said in a press release that gas canisters that are not depleted may cause a fire, as sparks may form from items being jostled during transportation. Once ignited, waste may begin smoldering in recycling trucks or recycling centers and feed on flammable materials, causing damage to machinery and threatening the safety of workers.

The EPB reminded the public to make sure all pressurized gas canisters containing substances such as gas, pesticide, paint, or hairspray are completely emptied before being recycled. Citizens should also inform cleaning teams when recycling any hazardous items, including lighters and batteries, in order to prevent any accidents.


Smoke billows from recycled waste as it's dumped. (YouTube, Kaohsiung City Government Environment Protection Bureau video)