LSSL and LCC are supporting and promoting a new battery campaign. Every year across the UK, hundreds of devastating fires occur in recycling and waste management facilities and vehicles. This affects public services, causes untold damage and puts people at risk of serious injury, or worse.
The majority of these fires are caused by batteries which have been improperly disposed of and which are subsequently hidden in the general rubbish or mixed with other recyclable materials. Hidden batteries are likely to be damaged during the collection and treatment process and some batteries, particularly those that are lithium-based, can explode or ignite when this happens.
Battery fires are a national problem and fires have occurred in waste collection vehicles, Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) and Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs) throughout the region. In an effort to try and reduce the number of fires, authorities are promoting public-facing messages to explain the situation and what householders should be doing to responsibly dispose of their batteries/electrical items.
- Material Focus has published research showing that batteries not removed from electricals cause more than 600 fires in refuse collection vehicles and at waste sites every year.
- Material Focus’s research also found that up to 45% of householders are unaware of the fire risks stemming from the unsafe disposal of batteries, while a quarter of householders unsafely throw batteries away.
- 40% of householders are unaware of any information regarding how they should safely recycle their batteries, Material Focus says.
The key message is to never bin hidden batteries. There are hidden batteries with electricals which can start fires when crushed or damaged inside bin or recycling lorries. Batteries must be removed from electricals before recycling, and if unable to remove, recycle it together with your old electricals. Everything with a plug, battery or cable can be recycled. Batteries shouldn’t go in recycling bins, bags or boxes. Search ‘Recycle Your Electricals’ to find your local battery and electricals drop off point: https://www.recycleyourelectricals.org.uk/.