Warning after batteries exploded inside Brighton bin lorry

Brighton and Hove City Council has reminded residents not to dispose of old, unwanted or dead batteries in their general waste or recycling.

Wednesday, 21st July 2021, 7:38 pm
Updated Wednesday, 21st July 2021, 7:40 pm
The fire service had to be called to extinguish the fire caused by batteries

It comes after one of its bin lorries was set on fire this week because someone left a bag of household batteries in their rubbish. Some of the batteries exploded inside the waste holder which set alight other waste, the council said.

To ensure the fire could be put out, the lorry had to tip the whole of its contents onto the road for the fire service to extinguish.

Councillor Amy Heley chair of the council’s environment, transport and sustainability committee, said: “Thankfully no one was injured but the situation could have been far worse for the driver and crew, and potentially passers-by. The incident shows that batteries thrown into ordinary bins, household waste or with other recycling are extremely dangerous.

"They can easily get squashed, compacted, punctured, shredded or soaked in liquids. When this happens, they can ignite, resulting in fires that endanger lives, cause expensive damage and disrupt waste services.

“Damaged batteries are also dangerous as they contain chemicals and materials that can harm the environment if they aren’t recycled responsibly.”

The council hasn't collected batteries for years, so instead people should take them to the city's Household Waste Recycling Sites or drop them off at one of the many battery recycling points throughout the city, including most local supermarkets. You can find your nearest recycling location at recyclenow.com by entering your postcode, town or city.

Batteries that can be recycled are:

• All household batteries including 'button' batteries from watches

• Battery packs from laptops, mobile phones, power tools and remote-control units

• Car batteries should be recycled at our Household Waste Recycling Sites

The council says people can also help by:

• Using rechargeable batteries where possible

• Selling or donating working, but unwanted, battery-powered electronic items instead of throwing them away. This can be done by contacting the reuse and recycle service RevaluElectricals by Tech-Takeback

• Removing a battery from a product and recycling it separately and responsibly

If a battery cannot be removed from a product, the whole item should be recycled at our Household Waste Recycling Sites, small electricals recycling points or RevaluElectricals by Tech-Takeback