“Think before you bin your batteries” warns NNC

08 June 2023


Following a fire at Wellingborough Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC) in May, North Northamptonshire Council, are reminding residents to think before disposing of used batteries.

An investigation, following the skip fire on 29 May, revealed that the fire had been started by a battery in the general waste skip.

Batteries thrown into general rubbish or recycling bins, or left inside old electrical items, have caused several fires in bin lorries and at recycling centres locally and nationally recently.

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.

But 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 also have battery bins, where you can take your old batteries for recycling.

This is a very real reminder that batteries should be disposed of correctly. It might be easy to think that a battery will be okay to put in your general waste bin, but, as this recent case shows - they can easily cause fires, which can have a wide impact. In the worst-case scenario, more than just the waste in the skip could have been set on fire and serious damage caused at the Wellingborough HWRC. 

On this occasion, we had to evacuate the site to keep the public safe and were advised by the Fire Service to close the site for the remainder of the day to ensure the fire had been completely extinguished, which inconvenienced people wanting to use the site that day.

Fires on our bin lorries could also cause the loss of a vehicle entirely at a significant cost to the council.
Cllr Graham Lawman, the council’s Executive Member for Highways, Travel and Assets
Anywhere that sells batteries should have a battery bin, including all major supermarkets. So next time you are doing your weekly shop, please put your used batteries in one of these bins, rather than in your recycling or general waste bin at home.Cllr Jason Smithers, Leader of the Council

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