Tackling battery fires in waste and recycling across Merseyside and Halton
Up and down the country fires are happening in the back of recycling and waste vehicles, and at waste facilities, due to the incorrect disposal of batteries.
New YouGov research has revealed that shockingly in the North West only 38% of the public realise that, if damaged, Lithium-ion batteries can spark fires. As the nation declutters post Christmas, Veolia, the UK’s leading resource management company, is calling on the public to reclaim the value of batteries and recycle them properly to prevent fires but also preserve valuable resources.
Found in consumer gadgets and other household items, Lithium-ion batteries can become damaged in transit or by handling and they can cause fires when present in flammable wastes such as paper and plastics. Fires in waste vehicles are up by 37.5% since 2017. Lithium-ion batteries are a significant contributor as they can be damaged by the vehicles compactor and can set alight. Veolia, who operate Recycling Facilities in the region on behalf of Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority (MRWA), handles around 2,800 tonnes of small electronic devices annually. Our research shows that people are largely unaware of the consequences of damaged Lithium-ion batteries, and perhaps also the benefits of recycling them.
In Merseyside Lithium-ion fires are igniting great issues. Fresh YouGov research, carried out on behalf of Veolia, highlighted that just over half of the public always remove batteries when disposing of their old electronics. Removing batteries from electronic devices and placing them in special battery recycling containers, such as those available at Household Waste Recycling Centres, is the key to ensure that they are safely and correctly recycled.
Leaving a battery in any device, however small, can be as hazardous as leaving a smouldering BBQ in the waste - another source of waste fires.
Philip Gilmour, Regional Director North Veolia UK says:
“Battery induced fires are a serious and unfortunately, growing hazard that Veolia is combatting. While enjoying your new electronics this year, make sure to take care when recycling your old ones. The average UK resident throws away around 24.5 kg of electronics every year. These materials, if treated properly can be a gift to the planet, returning valuable resources back to be used again - so we can, for example, move to electric vehicles more rapidly with less impact from mining more resources. So take your batteries out and bring them to our HWRCs and ensure a safe 2020 for all.”
Impressively, just over two-thirds of people in the North-West do indeed know to correctly dispose of their gadgets at Recycling Centres, found YouGov’s research. Veolia operates 14 Recycling Centres in the Merseyside region, where we can make sure your electronics are handled in a safe and proper manner. Head to your local council’s website or the Veolia website to uncover the best way for you to recycle your batteries.