Warning over dangers posed by batteries when disposing of electrical items in household recycling bins
P R E S S R E L E A S E
Safe disposal of unwanted electrical items
The start of a new year is traditionally the time to clear out the old and bring in the new – with many households taking the opportunity to declutter following Christmas.
But many of the electrical cast offs being thrown in household recycling bins can pose a danger as a result of the batteries they contain.
Councils have warned that batteries thrown in household rubbish bins cause around 700 fires every year in the UK in waste collection vehicles and waste-processing centres. It has been estimated the resulting fires cost fire services and waste operators around £158 a year
One of the biggest threats is from Lithium-ion batteries which can explode if damaged or crushed. Usage of these batteries is found in many everyday household objects such as toothbrushes, toys, phones, vaping devices and laptops.
Abi Reid is Community Education Liaison Officer based at Manvers, the award-winning waste treatment facility which diverts 97 per cent of Barnsley, Doncaster, and Rotherham household waste from landfill.
“We want to make people aware of the potential danger of disposing of electrical items in household bins where they are likely to be crushed,” said Abi.
"If these items contain batteries it can cause them to short-circuit and ignite in a situation where they are surrounded by flammable or potentially explosive material such as paper, plastic and aerosols, and that can lead to fires. This poses a danger to people working on refuse lorries or in waste recycling and treatment plants.
"Rather than disposing of electricals and batteries with general household waste we would ask residents to recycle them properly. That means they will be disposed of safely. People can take batteries to any major supermarket or their local recycling centre. Vaping devices can often be recycled by taking them back to the stores they were bought from.”
If they are still in good working order unwanted gadgets should be donated to friends, family or local re-use projects. Residents are also being encouraged to recycle broken or damaged unwanted tech gadgets. A recent survey estimated there were 40 million unused electrical items hidden away in our homes – from mobile phones, tablets and laptops to televisions and games consoles. Many of these products contain precious metals in the electronics.
The average UK household has 20 unwanted electricals gathering dust. Incorrect disposal of electronics also means that the valuable, precious metals and materials they contain are lost. These metals can be recycled into new things. By recycling our old electricals, we could cut as much CO2 as taking 1.3 million cars off the road.
Recycle your electricals https://www.recycleyourelectricals.org.uk/
Recycle Now https://www.recyclenow.com/
Note to Editors: The waste treatment facility at Manvers processes around a quarter of a million tonnes of leftover waste a year from 345,000 homes across Barnsley, Doncaster, and Rotherham, turning it into useful products rather than sending it to landfill.