An International waste recycling company is trying to raise awareness of the danger of fires being caused due to people not disposing of certain types of gadgets properly.
Veolia is calling on residents in East Sussex to dispose of their batteries safely to stop fires.
It has undertaken brand new research with YouGov on over 2,000 British consumers, uncovering that 43% of Brits do not know the dangerous flammable consequences of incorrectly disposing of their old gadgets and devices.
They say the public needs to be made aware that not taking gadgets and devices to local Household Waste and Recycling Centres can directly spark fires when Lithium-ion batteries are damaged and ignite.
Found in a number of consumer gadgets and more and more household items, Lithium-ion batteries can become damaged in transit or by handling them and potentially cause fires when they are in flammable wastes (paper, plastics). Fires in waste vehicles are up by 37.5% since 2017.
One of the biggest culprits is from Lithium-ion batteries which when thrown away and damaged by the vehicles compactor can set alight.
In East Sussex and Brighton, Veolia accepts 2,369 tonnes of small electronic devices like these annually. Their new research shows that people are unaware of the consequences of damaged Lithium-ion batteries, and perhaps also the benefits of recycling them.
A spokesperson for the company said: “All over the UK Lithium-ion fires are igniting great issues, caused by sources such as these batteries being in black bag bin waste. Fresh YouGov research, on behalf of Veolia, highlighted that just over half of the public always remove batteries when disposing of their old electronics. Removing batteries from electronic devices and placing them in special disposal containers, such as those available at Veolia Household Waste and Recycling Sites (HWRSs), is the key to ensure that they are safely and carefully recycled in the correct facilities.
“Leaving a battery in any device, however small, can be as hazardous as leaving a smouldering BBQ in the waste - another source of waste fires.
Allan Key, General Manager East Sussex and Brighton, Veolia UK says: “Battery induced fires are a serious and unfortunately, growing hazard that Veolia is combatting. While enjoying your new electronics this year, make sure to take care when recycling your old ones.
“The average UK resident throws away around 24.5 kg of electronics every year. These materials, if treated properly can be a gift to the planet, returning valuable resources back to be used again - so we can, for example, move to electric vehicles more rapidly with less impact from mining more resources. So take your batteries out and bring them to our HWRSs and ensure a safe 2020 for all.”
An impressive three-quarters of people in the South do indeed know to correctly dispose of their gadgets in HWRC/Ss, found YouGov’s research. Veolia has 12 HWRSs in East Sussex and Brighton, where we can make sure you’re electronics are handled in a safe and proper manner. Head to your local council’s website or the Veolia website to uncover the best way for you to recycle your batteries, for example through your local supermarket’s containers or a kerbside collection.