Nottinghamshire residents are urged to be “battery savvy” in a bid to tackle the growing number of fires caused by discarded batteries.
Nottinghamshire County Council and Veolia are reminding residents about what can go wrong when we make mistakes with our rubbish.
According to research from “Material Focus”, the not-for-profit behind the Recycle Your Electricals campaign, around a quarter of adults (and over a third of under 35s) are putting batteries in their household bins.
A further 4% are wrongly putting batteries in their home recycling or the electricals’ areas at their local recycling centres.
Used batteries thrown away with other waste and recycling are likely to be crushed or punctured once the waste is collected and processed.
Some battery types in particular, like lithium-ion (Li-ion) and nickel-metal Hydride (NiMH), can ignite when they’re damaged.
Once this happens, the batteries can quickly set fire to other materials present in the waste, like paper, leading to serious incidents that put lives at risk and disrupt services.
Being “battery savvy” means never throwing batteries away with general rubbish or other recycling and understanding that used batteries must only be recycled using specialist battery recycling services.
Nottinghamshire County Council residents can recycle used batteries by removing them from devices and taking them to battery recycling collection points at their local Recycling Centre, at major supermarkets or via household collections where available. Batteries should never be mixed with other waste in any collection containers.
In the case of lithium-ion batteries it doesn’t always occur to people to remove them as they can be “hidden”, “difficult to access” and in some cases users are not even aware their electronic item contains a battery. Indeed, few people know what a lithium-ion battery is.
Although safe to use normally, powerful lithium-ion batteries are typically the most dangerous if they are not recycled properly. These batteries are often found in products like laptops, tablets, mobile phones, radio-controlled toys, bluetooth devices, shavers, electric toothbrushes, power tools, scooters and even e-cigarettes and can often be a rechargeable battery housed within a device
Councillor Neil Clarke MBE, Chairman of the Transport and Environment Committee at Nottinghamshire County Council said: “We know that most people want to do the right thing with their waste, but unfortunately a great many of the batteries thrown away in Nottinghamshire are not being recycled properly.
“Fires caused by discarded batteries endanger lives; disrupt waste services that we all rely on and cause millions of pounds of damage.
“Batteries are often hidden inside electricals, we urge all residents to remove batteries from their electricals and to recycle them responsibly by taking them to their local recycling centre, major supermarkets or via your household collections if you have them. Let’s all work together to keep everyone safe”
Lea Hawkes Veolia Nottinghamshire said: “We are asking people to be battery savvy and take extra care when recycling their old electronics. The average UK resident throws away around 24.5 kg of electronics every year. These materials, if treated properly, can be a gift to the planet, returning valuable components and resources back to safe collection points to be used again.”