After your normal household recycling is collected, it goes through various hand and mechanical sorting processes to make it ready to be turned into new things. These processes are not designed to accept batteries, so batteries can end up contaminating your recycling or can be easily damaged during sorting. Damaged batteries can ignite and, when they do, they’re often in the presence of lots of flammable material like paper and card. This creates big fires quickly.
Some local councils offer a kerbside battery recycling service where batteries are collected separately alongside your normal recycling – check your council’s website to see if this is available where you live. Otherwise, please take your batteries to a designated battery recycling point.
Most batteries can become dangerous if they are not recycled responsibly but some can be particularly prone to causing fires when mixed with other rubbish.
Certain rechargeable battery types most often found in portable electronic devices like laptops, tablets, mobile phones, cameras, power-tools, remote-controlled toys and even e-cigarettes, are particularly prone to causing fires because they can release lots of energy quickly, and in an uncontrolled way, if they are damaged or exposed to liquids.
The use of Lithium-Ion batteries is rapidly increasing across a wide range of products. Although safe to use normally, if severely damaged, these batteries can be particularly dangerous, so please recycle them responsibly. Find out more about battery recycling.
If you can remove the battery from the product, please do so. Batteries and waste electrical items should be recycled separately.
Some electronic devices contain rechargeable batteries which cannot be easily removed from the product – for example, things like electric toothbrushes and newer mobile phones. If you no longer want one of these products, you should not attempt to remove the battery yourself. Instead, if the product is in working order, please consider selling or donating it (if it’s a phone….not a toothbrush) so that it can be used for as long as possible.
If the product is broken, some online companies may still actually pay you for it, so it’s worth checking online first before recycling it.
If the product is broken and you wish to recycle it, please recycle it with the batteryinside alongside other small waste electrical items (WEEE) at your local Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC). Some councils offer a kerbside recycling collection for small waste electrical items, so check your council’s website to see if this is available in your area.