Council urges residents to recycle batteries responsibly

Two waste sites were forced to close temporarily earlier this year, after discarded batteries started fires

Dead batteries poster

People in Leicestershire are being reminded to ‘take charge’ when it comes to the disposal of batteries.

Leicestershire County Council is supporting the national campaign – led by the Environmental Services Association - to tackle the growing number of serious “zombie battery” fires started by carelessly-discarded batteries at its recycling facilities.

Both Coalville and Barwell recycling and household waste sites were forced to close temporarily earlier this year, after discarded batteries caused fires.

We know most residents want to do their bit to recycle, and everyone in Leicestershire can help us to reduce the growing amount of battery fires by recycling them correctly.

The more batteries that are recycled properly, the fewer will end up where they shouldn’t be.

In the UK, up to a billion batteries are used and thrown away every year – equivalent to 10 batteries per resident.

When they are thrown away with the general rubbish, or mixed with other recycling, hidden “zombie batteries” can easily ‘return from the dead’ and cause serious fires.

Lithium-ion batteries are particularly prone to causing fires or explosions if they are not recycled properly. Dead batteries thrown away with other waste and recycling are likely to be crushed or punctured once the waste is collected and processed.

Some battery types can ignite or even explode when they’re damaged in waste collection and treatment processes.

Once this happens, the batteries can set fire to other materials present in the waste, such as paper and card, leading to serious incidents that, in some cases, put lives at risk and disrupt vital waste services.

These batteries are most commonly found in products such as laptops, tablets, mobile phones, radio-controlled toys, Bluetooth devices, shavers, electric toothbrushes, power tools, scooters and even e-cigarettes.

Residents should follow this advice:

  • Never put batteries in your general waste or recycling bins.
  • Only recycle batteries using a proper battery recycling service, such as at your local recycling and household waste site, or battery collection point often found in supermarkets.
  • Remove batteries from broken devices if you can and recycle both the battery and the device separately.
  • If you’re unable to remove the battery, recycle it together with your old electricals.

Residents can find out where to recycle batteries responsibly in the county, and more about the dangers of Zombie Batteries, by visiting

They can also find useful tips on reducing, reusing, and recycling their waste on the Less Waste website.

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