The majority of this waste falls into the category of hazardous waste, as it may contain harmful heavy metals or chemicals which are extremely hazardous to both the environment and human health.
When put into general waste or recycling bins and left to get wet, the harmful chemical content can start to react with other waste.
A particular danger of batteries and battery powered appliances entering general waste, household waste, or recycling bins, is their potential to spark when damaged or compacted. Across the industry this year there has been a number of reports where waste collection wagons have caught fire and the cause has been identified by the fire brigade as batteries placed in household waste bins.
Mark Penny, commercial manager at J&B Recycling, said: “It is clear, from the amount of electrical waste and batteries ending up in general waste and recycling bins, that more needs to be done to educate on how they should be dispose of safely and legally.
We also know of an incident were a rechargeable electrical toy ignited after it had been deposited by a kerbside recycling bin wagon. Fortunately, this was spotted and isolated before it could cause any significant damage.
“Lithium Ion batteries, which are found in lap tops and power tools, are becoming much more common in waste, and are a particular risk as lithium metal is highly reactive.
“There are a number of ways that electrical waste can be recycled. Most council operated Household Waste Recycling Centre’s (HWRCs) can accept hazardous waste. Others may collect such items as a stand-alone service or alongside bulky waste collections. Businesses have a duty to dispose of their waste correctly and there are many operators, including J&B Recycling, that provide collection services for the safe and legal treatment of IT equipment, large and small appliances, TV’s, fridges, fluorescent tubes and batteries.”
“Many well-known retailers also host public collection points for their customers to drop used batteries in as they are legally obliged to provide these, so it’s just a case of remembering to take them when going shopping.”
According to a survey by Hubbub, less than half of the homeowners participating realised that batteries were made of materials that could be reused, such as zinc and lead, and half of the respondents admitted to throwing batteries in the regular waste bin.
Mark added: “The same risk applies to businesses, especially those using wheelie bins for general waste or dry mixed recycling. Businesses are also required to comply to the new Landfill and WEEE directives, as well as the 2005 hazardous waste regulations, which means they have a responsibility to dispose of waste safely.”
J&B Recycling offers a number of different styles of specially designed containers and collection services, specifically for the collection and recycling of electrical waste.
Mark said: “Our highly durable, purpose-designed storage containers provide a safe, convenient and efficient method of storage, collection and recycling, whilst reducing the health and safety risk associated with those types of waste.”
If you would like to make an enquiry or if you require further information please contact us.