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Never bin hidden batteries

Batteries that are thrown away can cause fires. Anything with a plug, battery or cable can and should be recycled.

Did you know that your electric toothbrush has a hidden battery within it, and that it could cause a fire if it isn't recycled properly? Same with your old calculator, vape or e-cigarette, children’s toys, hearing aids, or anything that is rechargeable.

Electricals in a box

It’s understandable if you didn’t - in fact, 45% of us are unaware of the fire risk if we don’t safely dispose of batteries hidden inside their electricals.

If batteries, or electricals containing batteries, are thrown away in bins or household recycling lorries with other materials, they get 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.

According to latest research there have been over 600 fires in the last year, in waste trucks and sites caused by batteries that weren’t removed from electricals. In Buckinghamshire alone there have been 7 in the last year.

These fires are a rising problem and a very serious danger to bin crews and waste workers. Waste fires cost over £150 million a year to councils, waste companies and fire services, and also damage the environment. Mickey, a driver from Buckinghamshire Council’s waste collection team who has experienced a fire in a waste truck said: “In the space of a couple of minutes, it went from a bit of smoke to two foot flames leaping out of the waste truck. On this occasion we were lucky, we could get to a safe place, which meant no one was hurt. However, these types of fires, if we were on a residential street, could cause untold damage.”

How to recycle batteries

Anything with a plug, battery or cable can be recycled and turned into anything from children’s playgrounds to lifesaving equipment.

The best way to dispose of batteries or electricals is to remember this simple ABC

  • ASK - Are there batteries hidden in your electrical product? Remove them if you can and recycle them separately. If you can’t remove them, recycle the whole item with your other small electricals.
  • BAG IT - Set aside one bag for batteries and one for small electricals. Put batteries from your gadgets in their own bag and electricals in theirs, ready for separate recycling.
  • CHECK - Use our Waste Wizard to find your nearest electrical recycling point – often found in supermarkets and shops – visit today.

So remember - never bin hidden batteries. Always recycle them separately from your household rubbish or recycling to prevent fires. 

Find your local recycling battery and electrical drop off point here -