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How batteries contribute to fires in recycling and waste management facilities

Commercial Waste Services Westminster
Commercial Waste Services Westminster

Every year, across the United Kingdom, hundreds of devastating fires occur in recycling and waste management facilities and vehicles. This compromises vital public services, causes millions of pounds worth of damage and puts people at risk of serious injury, or worse.

The majority of these fires are caused by batteries which have been improperly discarded and are subsequently hidden in the general rubbish or mixed with other recyclable materials. The 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.

Given the increasing popularity and use of lithium batteries across a range of consumer applications, without intervention, the sector predicts a growth trend in the number and power output of improperly discarded batteries and a corresponding rise in the fire incidence rate.

Eight top tips to stop waste batteries from becoming dangerous

  1. Use rechargeable batteries where possible to reduce battery waste
  2. Consider reselling as an alternative to throwing battery-powered electronic items away
  3. Donate your working but unwanted batteries to charity shops
  4. Never put batteries in normal rubbish or recycling bins
  5. Only recycle batteries using a proper battery recycling service
  6. Remove batteries from broken devices if safe to do so and recycle the device and battery separately
  7. If you can’t safely remove the battery, recycle the device with the battery inside using a small waste electricals recycling service
  8. Download posters to use in your workplace as a reminder of the proper way to dispose of batteries

Still unsure what to do? Visit Take Charge. 

Download posters for your workplace

To encourage your employees to recycle batteries correctly, try sticking up some posters. We have a range available to download for free, simply click on the images below.

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