Zest Recycle joins the fight against “Zombie Batteries” in a bid to tackle recycling and waste fires

26 October 2020
Zest Recycle

Consumers across the UK are today (Monday 26 October) being urged to “join the fight against Zombie batteries” in a bid to tackle the growing number of fires caused by carelessly discarded dead batteries.

Waste Cost Reduction Services Ltd supports the new national Take Charge campaign, which urges consumers to only recycle dead batteries using specialist battery recycling services, and to never throw batteries away alongside general rubbish or other recycling.

Dead batteries thrown away with other waste and recycling, which the campaign refers to as “zombie batteries”, are likely to be crushed or punctured once the waste is collected and processed. Some battery types in particular, like lithium-ion (Li-ion) and nickel-metal Hydride (NiMH), can ignite or even explode when they’re damaged. Once this happens, the batteries can quickly set fire to other materials present in the waste, like paper, leading to serious incidents that put lives at risk.

Although safe to use normally, powerful lithium-ion batteries are typically the most dangerous if they are not recycled properly. These batteries are often found in products like laptops, tablets, mobile phones, radio-controlled toys, Bluetooth devices, shavers, electric toothbrushes, power tools, scooters and even e-cigarettes.

The recycling and waste management trade body, the Environmental Services Association (ESA), which launched the campaign, conducts an annual survey of its members to record the proportion of fires occurring at recycling and waste facilities that are known or thought to have been started by lithium-ion batteries in particular.

Recent data collected by the ESA shows that, between April 2019 and March 2020, lithium-ion batteries alone were thought to be responsible for more than 250 fires at its members’ facilities during the year – or well over a third (38%) of all fires.

Members of the ESA hope that by encouraging the public to recycle batteries responsibly, it will reduce the number of “zombie batteries” present in general waste and recycling, thereby reducing the number of fires in future.

Executive Director of the Environmental Services Association (ESA), Jacob Hayler said: “Unfortunately, the majority of batteries thrown away in the UK at the moment are not recycled properly. Fires caused by carelessly discarded batteries endanger lives; cause millions of pounds of damage and disrupt waste services. We urge consumers to please recycle batteries responsibly by using widely available local battery recycling services.”

Take Charge is supported by the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC).

Mark Andrews, NFCC Waste Fires Lead and Assistant Chief Fire Officer of East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Batteries in household waste and recycling can lead to large scale and protracted fires. These incidents are often very challenging for fire services to deal with and can cause significant disruption to communities. “Many people may not realise the importance of the correct disposal of batteries so this simple advice can make a real difference in preventing waste fires”

Consumers can find out more about the dangers of Zombie Batteries, by visiting the campaign website at www.takecharge.org.uk


Notes to editors

Media Contact: Victoria Muirhead
E: victoria.muirhead@zestrecycle.co.uk
T: 01708 55 99 66

Zest Recycle has been established for over 20 years and provides tailored waste management and recycling solutions for organisations with multiple sites and waste streams. With proven experience and a strong track record, Zest Recycle help clients, find implement and maintain solutions which are compliant, sustainable and cost effective.

Zest Recycle clients include some of the largest names in retail, entertainment, manufacturing and logistics.

Zest Recycle is part of the Windsor Integrated Services Group (WISG), an independent recycling and waste management company founded by Tony Windsor in 2013. WISG includes;

– Windsor Waste Management, a leader in hazardous waste and asbestos disposal for the construction and demolition industry.

– Hazibag UK, an innovative and award-winning solution for managing COSHH Waste

– ARI Global Technologies (ARIGT), global license holder for a unique thermochemical technology that destroys asbestos and produces an inert, recycled aggregate for a range of construction applications.

For media enquiries about the campaign, please contact Ben Johnson at takecharge@esauk.org or by phone on 07966 304330.

About the campaign
The Take Charge+ Campaign was established in October 2020 and is managed by the Environmental Services Association (ESA). It is sponsored by the ESA and the battery compliance scheme, European Recycling Platform (ERP).

To find out more about the Take Charge campaign, and see a full list of supporters, please visit www.takecharge.org.uk. A short campaign film is hosted on YouTube (access from website) and may be shared or embedded for editorial use.


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