16th March 2021

Recycle your batteries safely – STOP before they POP!

Residents in Cornwall are being urged to safely recycle ‘zombie batteries’ following a spate of small fires at Household Waste and Recycling Centres (HWRCs).

Cornwall Council and SUEZ, which operates the county’s HWRCs are supporting the national campaign Take Charge. The campaign, launched by the recycling and waste management trade body Environmental Services Association, urges people never to put dead batteries with their general rubbish or kerbside recycling.

Instead, residents in Cornwall can recycle most batteries, including button batteries and battery packs from laptops, phones, power tools and remote controls, at any of the county’s HWRCs. You can also recycle some batteries at supermarkets, DIY stores and selected local shops and libraries.

Although safe to use normally, some battery types in particular, like lithium-ion (Li-ion) and nickel-metal Hydride (NiMH), can ignite or even explode when  damaged. Once this happens, the batteries can quickly set fire to other materials present in the waste, like paper, potentially leading to serious incidents that put lives at risk.

Lindsay Simpson, SUEZ Senior Site Manager, who helped coordinate the ‘STOP before they POP’ campaign in Cornwall said: “Old batteries can cause serious fires at our sites and potentially put lives at risk. We would like householders to store them at home in a box out of the way and then when the box is full, or you are visiting a HWRC you can drop them off for recycling.”

Jacob Hayler, Executive Director of the Environmental Services Association (ESA), which launched the campaign, said: “Unfortunately, the majority of batteries thrown away in the UK at the moment are not recycled properly. Fires caused by carelessly discarded batteries endanger lives; cause millions of pounds of damage and disrupt waste services. We urge consumers to please recycle batteries responsibly by using widely available local battery recycling services.”

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