It’s important to recycle plastic water bottles to help save the environment, but it’s also a really good idea to get them out of your vehicle. It’s not just because it’s unsightly to have them lying around haphazardly, but it could be a threat to your life.
One Idaho man learned the hard way that discarded empty plastic water bottles not only clutter up a vehicle, but they can cause serious damage during sunny warm weather. How is it possible that something as seemingly innocent as a plastic water bottle could be so dangerous?
Just like light traveling through a magnifying glass that can set things on fire when burning hot enough, plastic water bottles can do the same thing. It’s quite frightening to find your backseat or floorboard on fire all because of a seemingly innocent plastic water bottle.
Idaho Power shared such a story on Facebook from one of its employee’s scary experience. In fact, so many people were unaware of this hazard that the video has been viewed thousands of times and shared hundreds of times, too.
There are two charred holes in Dioni’s front seat, proof that this odd occurrence really did happen. Idaho Power said that a round plastic water bottle filled with a clear liquid can actually act as a lens that concentrates the sun’s energy on one point, eventually creating enough heat to ignite and spark flames.
The ideal thing to do is to remove empty plastic water bottles from your vehicle and recycle them. But if you haven’t made it to a recycling bin yet, make sure they’re kept out of direct sunlight.
Many people have commented on the Facebook post about this odd occurrence. People hadn’t given much thought to their plastic water bottle starting a fire in their vehicles.
But Idaho Power advises all of its employees and the public to heed their warning. Could you imagine sitting in your car at a stoplight and noticing your seat on fire?
Firefighters are warning drivers about the hazard, too. In a test conducted by Oklahoma’s Midwest City Fire Department, sunlight magnified by a water bottle reached 250 degrees, news channel KFOR reports. “The sunlight will come through, when it’s filled with liquid, and act as a magnifying glass as you would with regular optics,” said MCFD’s David Richardson.
“It uses the liquid and the clear material to develop a focused beam and sure enough, it can actually cause a fire, a combustion,” Richardson explained.