Why Your Bin is No Place for Batteries

series of unlabelled batteries, with the battery in the middle being bright great with a white recycling symbol

Bins and batteries are a bad mix!

In 2024, the Port Macquarie-Hastings region has had two incidents involving our waste and recycling trucks catching fire due to batteries being disposed of in household bins.

Batteries are highly combustible and pose significant risks when not disposed of correctly.

Batteries can be found in many everyday items in your home, from toys and tools to electronics and even greeting cards. But when they end up in your household bins, they cause big problems, including significant safety risks to our truck drivers and consequences for our environment.

How to dispose of household batteries safely

Instead of throwing household batteries in the bin where they can cause fires (and miss the opportunity to be recycled), it’s important to dispose of them properly. Here are some simple steps to help you drive batteries out of bins and into effective recycling streams:

This reusable box helps you to safely store your spent batteries until you are able to take them to a registered drop off location. Visit our Drop Off for Free page and click on “Recycling Household Batteries” to order yours.

Please remember to tape the terminals to prevent sparks which can lead to fires.

You might be surprised by the kinds of household items that contain batteries. Here are some to keep in mind:

  • Children’s books with electronic elements
  • Baby monitors and cameras
  • Bluetooth devices (e.g. headphones, speakers etc)
  • Computer accessories (wireless keyboard, mouse etc)
  • Remote control toys
  • Videogame controllers
  • Electric toothbrushes

Where safe to do so, batteries from these devices should be removed and disposed of using the steps below.

Have an item that’s battery cannot be safely removed? Check Council’s website to see if it is eligible to be dropped off for free or visit B-Cycle’s website for more information on what to do with batteries and battery-powered products that don’t belong in battery collection containers.

Batteries from any household devices, along with other types of e-waste can be dropped off for free at a waste transfer station 

  • AA, AAA, C, and D cell batteries 
  • alkaline cell 
  • lithium 
  • 9-volt 
  • Cr123 camera batteries 
  • dry cell and zinc 
  • Li-ion batteries (from laptops, cameras, cell phones and tools) 
  • NiCd 
  • NiMH 
  • gel cell 
  • most damaged, leaking or rusty batteries 

B-Cycle, Australia’s official battery stewardship program, also provides useful information on what can and can’t be collected through their battery stewardship scheme.

With over 20 convenient locations now available across our region, you are sure to find a convenient way of safely and effectively recycling your batteries. Use B-Cycle’s easy locator to find your registered local drop off spot, whether it’s one of our Council facilities or another B-Cycle partner. 

You can also find the locations of our waste transfer stations directly on our main website.

Word-of-mouth from a trusted source remains the most influential way to ensure the greatest impact from programs such as this.  So, now that you have this knowledge, how far can you help spread it?

 

Get in the know - think before you throw

When disposing of household items, remember to check for batteries. Safe recycling of batteries will help keep our community, environment, staff and waste facilities safe.

By taking a little extra time and care to check where your waste should go, you’re taking an important step to protect our community, keep our environment healthy, and send less to landfill.

Keen to learn more about what goes in which bin and what to do with items that don’t belong in any bin? Visit our A-Z Guide on Council’s website or download our free Waste Info App.

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