Council warns of battery fire risk

Residents across Bolsover District are being urged to remove batteries from toys and other household items before disposing of them.  

Recent research from Zurich Municipal, has found that just 38% of parents would check toys for batteries before disposing of them and found that the number of bin lorries hit by blazes has leapt 62% in the last two years.

The survey of 1,000 parents with children under 11 was carried out in November.

With Christmas on the horizon, many parents will declutter children’s toys to make room for new ones, but the research found that around one in five (21%) will throw these toys away into their household waste bin, ditching seven toys each on average, without removing the batteries.

Lithium batteries power all our everyday electronic devices such as mobiles phones, laptops and e-cigarettes but are also in millions of toys, which are believed to be one of the biggest causes.

Batteries that have not been removed can cause fires in waste collection lorries costing councils, and ultimately the taxpayer hundreds of thousands of pounds each year as insurance premiums rise and replacement vehicles are needed.

When batteries are not removed, they get moved or crushed in waste centres and the batteries become damaged, sending them into what’s known as thermal runaway.

These fires spread rapidly as the burning batteries are surrounded by flammable rubbish and are notoriously difficult to extinguish. A lithium battery fire can even reignite hours later.

Cabinet Member for the Environment, Councillor Anne Clarke said, “There has been an increase in these types of fires and we have experienced it ourselves in our bin lorries. I appreciate how easy to forget that a toy or device contains batteries, especially if it is old and has not been used for a while. But I would urge our residents to stop, think and remove the batteries from any items they are discarding so we can help reduce these types of incidents.

“And what’s even better is that if you remove the batteries you can place them in a clear plastic bag, place them on top of your burgundy bin (opens in a new window) and we will take them away and recycle them for you.”

Please visit our waste and recycling pages for more information. 


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