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Wiltshire Council reminds people that batteries should never be placed in the bin

Wiltshire Council is reminding people that batteries should never be placed in bins following a recent fire at Trowbridge Household Recycling Centre (HRC).

Published 16 February 2024

Wiltshire Council is reminding people that batteries should never be placed in bins following a recent fire at Trowbridge Household Recycling Centre (HRC).

On Monday 12 February a fire started at Trowbridge HRC because a battery was placed in the scrap metal bin, but fortunately it was quickly extinguished.

Batteries or electrical items containing batteries must never be put in a bin including household bins and recycling containers at HRCs. When waste or recycling is collected, any batteries in the items are likely to be squashed, compacted, punctured, shredded or soaked in liquids. All these processes increase the risk of fire or explosion, which threatens the safety of waste management staff and members of the public using HRCs.  

Batteries and electricals containing rechargeable batteries can be easily recycled by: 

  • Using the designated battery collection point at HRCs 
  • Using the council's kerside Battery collection service. People can place their unwanted batteries in a sealed clear sandwich bag on top of their blue-lidded bin or beside their blue recycling sack. 
  • If people can't safely remove a battery from a product, they should be recycled together in the designated electrical bin at a HRC or by using the kerbside Small rechargeable electricals collections. People can put out rechargeable electricals smaller than a shoe box beside their blue-lidded bin or recycling sack in a supermarket carrier bag on collection day. 

Cllr Nick Holder, Cabinet Member for Environment, said: "It is really important that we all recycle batteries safely and never put them in the bin. Batteries which are put in bins are linked to hundreds of fires at waste facilities across the country every year, with the recent incident at Trowbridge recycling centre being an unfortunate example. Fortunately, and thanks to our colleagues in the fire service and our staff on site, the fire wasn't more serious.

"It is easy to recycle batteries at home using our battery and small rechargeable electricals collection services. You can also recycle batteries at our recycling centres at the designated battery collection points.

"By recycling batteries responsibly, we can all play a role in preventing fires at our waste facilities and keeping our staff and the public safe."

Group Manager Wayne Presley, from Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service, added: "When used properly, batteries aren't dangerous, but they can present a fire risk when over-charged, short-circuited, submerged in water or damaged. Happily, this recent fire was quickly contained, but we have experienced significant incidents at waste sites in the past where batteries have been the cause. We would therefore urge everyone to follow the guidance on safe disposal and recycling."

More information can be found at Battery collection and Small rechargeable electricals collections.

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