Planning a spring clean? Don’t bin your batteries

Bins, recycling and street cleansing

29 May 2024

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Residents who were planning a spring clean are being reminded to think before disposing of used batteries and items containing batteries, including children’s toys and vapes.

Recently North Northamptonshire Council’s bin crews have had to think quickly twice to avoid potential bin lorry fires. The incidents could have been avoided if batteries had been recycled correctly.

When waste and recycling bins are collected by crews, any batteries inside can be squashed, punctured or shredded, which could cause batteries to get very hot and ignite, resulting in a fire or explosion in the bin lorry or at the waste facility.

Recent research by Material Focus found that 1.6 billion batteries were thrown away in the past year, including 1.1 billion electrical items containing lithium-ion batteries.

However, batteries can be recycled, easily and safely for free at places such as supermarkets and DIY stores which all have battery bins. All North Northamptonshire Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC) also have battery bins, where you can take your old batteries for free recycling.

North Northants HWRCs also accept all types of vapes. These can be disposed in the household battery containers if they are a solid unit. If they have a removable battery, this can go in the battery bin and the Vape body can be put in the bin for electrical items.

Toys can be taken to HWRCs or placed in general refuse bins, once the batteries have been removed.

Bank holidays typically see households having a spring clean and clear out, with lots of extra waste and recycling being created.

With this in mind, it is worth taking the time to remind yourself of what can go in your general waste and recycling bins. But we also want to take this opportunity to ask that residents check before they bin their batteries - they should never go in your general or recycling bins. Instead, most shops and supermarkets have recycling points where you can drop off your batteries and our Household Waste Recycling Centres have drop off points.
Cllr Matt Binley, the council’s Executive Member for Highways, Travel and Assets
Our waste crews have had a couple of lucky escapes recently and it was only their quick thinking which prevented fires on bin lorries.

Any fire could have been potentially very disruptive, with rounds having to be cancelled or amended, not to mention the loss of a vehicle.”
Jason Smithers, Leader of the Council

The website Recycle your electricals has a postcode checker where residents can find their nearest battery recycling point.

More information about what and where items can be recycled in North Northants is available on the council website.