Lincolnshire County Council warns of serious risks posed by improper disposal of batteries and electrical appliances

The county council has issued a warning about the serious risks that batteries and electrical appliances pose if they are not disposed of correctly.

Across Lincolnshire there have been numerous incidents of electronics being carelessly discarded and Lincolnshire County Council offers advice on how to dispose of them properly.

Rachel Stamp, Partnership and Waste Projects Manager, said: “Anything that has batteries or a plug in it can’t go in any of your bins at home and should be recycled separately.

Used AA size alkaline batteries of different brands ready for recycling in rows. Black background credit: istock/Olga Akinina (58726007)

“Waste is compacted many times on its way from your home to the energy at the landfill or recycling center, and it only takes one battery to create a spark that can ignite the entire load.

“Just last month, our recycling contractor’s hand pickers pulled a dozen small electronics – all containing batteries – from their process in just an hour. Items include old TV remotes, game console controllers and children’s toys.

“Fortunately, we have not seen any injuries from electrical waste fires in Lincolnshire, but this appears to be becoming a bigger issue and we need residents to work with us to keep these items out of their bins and help to keep people safe.”

In July, a Lincoln garbage truck had to dump its load on a city street after a battery caught fire in the rear.

In Boston too, an electrical device caused a fire in one of their collection vehicles in April.

The Bourne Household Waste Recycling Center also had to close for a short time in January as firefighters tackled a fire that broke out in the general waste container.

Garbage and recycling fires not only create a risk of turning away the workers and fire crews who have to deal with them, but it means that truckloads of garbage and recycling are sent to landfill because they don’t cannot be sent to North Hykeham Energy from a waste disposal site in case it contains other electronics.

It costs Lincolnshire councils thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money every year in extra disposal costs.

Dan Moss, Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Regional Prevention and Protection Manager, added: “Fires in landfills or in vehicles can often be difficult to extinguish, requiring a lot of resources for long periods of time and can have serious effects on public health, the environment and the safety of firefighters and local communities.

“As the waste is compacted and grouped together, there is plenty of material for the fire to spread quickly and, depending on the type of waste that is burning, the fumes can be particularly dangerous.

“If residents have old electronics or batteries to dispose of, I would encourage them to think carefully about the most appropriate way to recycle them so they don’t risk starting a fire.”

To see what you can recycle at your local household waste recycling center and find details of your nearest site, visit www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/recycle.

You can find battery points in most supermarkets and you can recycle electronics and batteries – including car batteries – at your local household waste recycling centre.

If you’re unsure whether or not you can recycle a certain item, leave it out and then check it out on your district council’s website.