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Risk of fire: old batteries, don’t put them in the bin

old batteries

By April Murphy

Learning what each recycling symbol means can be challenging. However, it is simple when it comes to batteries: don’t put them in the bin. Otherwise, it could be a deadly mistake.

A warning has been issued by Brisbane Lord Mayor, Adrian Schrinner, instructing residents to check their bins for batteries as they may unknowingly create dangerous fire risks within the community.

Cr Schrinner said 225 tonnes of batteries were wrongly sent to landfill last year, risking fire danger to homes, rubbish collection trucks and waste and recycling facilities.

“Batteries power our phones, laptops, kids’ toys, cars and essentially make our world go round, but they are putting lives at risk when they aren’t disposed of safely,” he said.

During this financial year, eight Council rubbish trucks have had to dump their loads onto the street because they’ve caught on fire.

“If hot loads are not detected early, they can cause an injury or even death to our drivers and members of the public,” says Cr Schrinner.

The Lord Mayor reassures that the drivers are well equipped to handle the situations, but they are easily preventable by disposing of batteries responsibly.

So, the question remains, what do we do with our old batteries?

City Standards, Community Health and Safety Chair Kim Marx said residents should treat batteries as hazardous waste, and there are many places to get rid of them for free. Start by storing them in a box or a container.

Then when you are ready to get rid of your batteries, you can dispose of them at one of the following places:

• Your local resource recovery centre
• Aldi
• Officeworks
• Battery World

Ms Marx states that this includes rechargeable batteries found in power tools and left inside broken toys and laptops, phones and tablets.

You can find out more information about recycling on the Queensland Government web page or a recycling guide for households on the Brisbane City Council web page.

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