Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Self-extinguishing Garbage Bins.

If you can't beat 'em, hose 'em.
  [vote for,

Be it a consequence of carelessly discarded cigerette ends, random arson, instances of nigh-miraculous confluxes of atmospheric influences, garbage bins in the streets seem to catch fire pretty often, with results that range from merely annoying to dangerous.

A possible solution? Self-extinguishing garbage bins. Actively self-extinguishing, not just the kind with a lid that supposedly cuts off the air supply and suffocates the fire, those only work in theory.

There could be a variety of self-extinguishing bins, ranging in price, fire fighting method and level of overkill. Not everyone needs or indeed wants the truly overengineered solutions, but it's nice to know they're available.

The basic model would have a container of water and a bi-metal-operated valve that releases water if the temperature exceeds a certain limit. But there could be other solutions:

A plastic container of compressed carbon dioxide (or some other inert gas). Heat softens the container enough for the gas to burst out and suffocate the flames.

A similar inert gas solution, but with the bi-metal valve.

A standard sprinkler and fire detector setup.

A multiple point IR detector that triangulates the position of the fire-starting body (hot ash, burning cigarette, flaming match), and a directional nozzle that extinguishes it with a stream of water before it can ignite the rest of the garbage.

A similar IR detector setup, monitoring the outside, with an outside-facing nozzle, to extinguish the heat source before it even reaches the bin, and a rubber mallet to hit the person trying to drop said item into the bin over the head.

Choose your model, and remember, only you can prevent dustbin fires.

Veho, Mar 31 2009

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       How about the "firekill 3000" - a self contained box that contains a thermometer and a cylinder of Halon. You could buy them in packs if necessary, and bolt one in the top of a trash can, or somewhere in your kitchen, or under the hood of the car, etc. When the thermometer reaches a certain temp the halon bottle empties extinguishing the fire.   

       EDIT: of course that would require an actual fire, so the water nozzle idea is required for the cigarettes-
DIYMatt, Mar 31 2009

       Where do you live I wonder? I have not seen a fire in a bin since I was 6 years olds. (US speaking.)
blissmiss, Mar 31 2009

       The bin-fires mostly start because something in the bin undergoes some exothermic reaction that raises the temperature above the ignition point. That reaction would not be stopped, only the indicitative fire would be. The real fun starts the moment someone opens the bin and lets fresh air in.
loonquawl, Apr 03 2009

       //The bin-fires mostly start because something in the bin undergoes some exothermic reaction that raises the temperature above the ignition point.//   

       Really? What the hell are you guys throwing away?   

       Loonquawl: You want to finish this bottle of glycerine?   

       Veho: No I couldn't thanks I'm stuffed - sling it. If you're throwing that away could you chuck this surplus box of potassium permanganate? I don't know why I bought it.   

       Loonquawl: Sure thing, I can't foresee any negative consequences. Oh, I'll just get rid of these firelighters and buckets of coal too, they've just been cluttering the place up since we switched to propane.
Loris, Apr 03 2009

       It needn't even be something intrinsically dangerous. Hay is known to self-ignite if wet, compacted and under anoxic conditions.
loonquawl, Apr 03 2009

       Water's not going to do it. You'd need some kind of non-flammable insulating powder which becomes sticky when heated. There's no information concerning the type of fire concerned due to the unpredictable bin contents. Water could easily make things worse. Apart from that, it's OK, though i have to say the only bin fires i ever see are ones which are started deliberately so as to inhale the fumes.
nineteenthly, Apr 03 2009


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