Residents urged to stop putting batteries in bins

Wirral residents are being urged to stop putting batteries in their bins, as they can cause fires and pollute the environment.

Batteries can contain hazardous materials, such as mercury, lead and cadmium which, if they are not disposed of correctly, can cause fires in waste collection vehicles, household bins and at Recycling Centres.

Material Focus research has identified that over 700 fires in bin lorries and tip sites are caused by batteries that haven’t been removed from electricals.  

Lesley Worswick, Chief Executive of MRWA, said, “Batteries are a hazard to our workers, our community and our environment. If batteries, or electricals containing batteries, end up inside bins or waste collection lorries with other materials then they are crushed in the waste and recycling process.

“This increases the chances that they could be punctured and self-combust, setting fire to dry and flammable waste and household recycling around them.

“We urge residents to please stop putting batteries in their waste and recycling bins, bags or boxes, and instead dispose of them safely. Remove batteries from electricals if you can and recycle the batteries and electricals separately. If you can’t remove the batteries then always recycle your electricals separately.”

There are 16 Household Waste Recycling Centres throughout the region that accept batteries. Residents can also find dedicated drop-off locations for battery disposal at many shops and supermarkets. 

To find your nearest recycling point residents can use the Recycle Your Electricals postcode locator

According to research by Material Focus, at least 25% of the UK public admit to binning batteries and 45% of householders are unaware of the fire risk if they don’t safely dispose of batteries hidden inside electricals.

All batteries should be recycled separately, never thrown away. Where possible, batteries should be removed from electrical products before recycling. If unable to remove the battery, recycle it together with old electricals.

John O’Boyle, Group Manager at Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service (MFRS), said, “Lithium-Ion batteries are common in everyday devices and are very safe. However, if they are mechanically damaged, over-charged, incorrectly charged, wet, short-circuited, or faulty they can go into “thermal runaway” and give off a toxic vapour cloud/cause fire with the potential to cause serious harm.

“It is vital to dispose of batteries safely and appropriately at a designated location, such as in shops and supermarkets or at one of the 16 Household Waste Recycling Centres across the region.”

Across Merseyside there has been an increase in accidental fires attributed to these types of items and Merseyside Fire and Rescue ask you to follow the advice given by the MRWA and MFRS. Batteries are used safely by most people every day but should still be disposed of in a safe manner.

Lesley Worswick continued, “It’s easy to do the right thing. Please don’t throw them in your bin. Just take your batteries to a Recycling Centre or to a supermarket the next time you’re doing a shop. You’ll be helping to keep our community safer.”

Image: MRWA

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