Research conducted by Material Focus amongst local authorities across the UK has identified that over 700 fires in waste trucks and sites are caused by batteries that haven’t been removed from electricals.
The research was commissioned to raise awareness of a new campaign by Recycle Your Electricals “Stop Battery Fires Campaign” which aims to inform householders how they can recycle their batteries and electricals.
The research surveyed 60 UK local authorities with nearly 90% of these local authorities saying that fires caused by batteries are an increasing problem. The findings of the research indicate that there are three times more fires caused by batteries in the waste stream than previously reported.
Research by Material Focus has also found that up to 45% of householders are unaware of the fire risk if they don’t safely dispose of batteries, with a quarter of householders unsafely throwing them away. 40% of householders are unaware of any information regarding how they should safely recycle their batteries.
People should never bin their electricals or their portable batteries.
In response to the findings, Material Focus is launching the Stop Battery Fires Campaign raising awareness of the actions that householders can take to reduce fires.
Lithium-ion batteries are responsible for around 48% (over 200) of all waste fires occurring in the UK each year according to the Environmental Services Association costing some £158 million annually to waste operators, fire services and the environment.
The campaign, which the organisation says has over 70 local authorities participating, will be promoting the following information: “Never bin hidden batteries, or electricals, don’t put them in your rubbish or recycling bins as they could then start fires in bin lorries on your street. Instead, 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.”
People can find their nearest recycling point for batteries and electricals by visiting our recycle your electricals website.
Commentating on the findings, Executive Director of Material Focus, Scott Butler, said: “People should never bin their electricals or their portable batteries. If they can, they should remove any hidden batteries from their electricals and recycle the batteries and electricals separately. If they can’t remove the batteries then they should recycle their electricals separately as always.
“Having listened to the numerous stories of flames engulfing waste and recycling trucks as they drive down residential streets, it’s important that we all take action now to keep our streets, householders, waste and local authority staff, and firefighters safe.
“People can find their nearest recycling point for batteries and electricals by visiting our recycle your electricals website.”