Battery fires threatening lives

Member for Gosford, Liesl Tesch is urging residents to keep batteries out of household bins due to a growing number of battery-related fires across the state.

Liesl Tesch at Battery and Mobile Phone Recycling Point.

23 August 2023


LITHIUM battery fires in homes and in garbage trucks and tips are increasing, with Fire and Rescue NSW responding to around three battery fires a week.


Fire and Rescue NSW data shows that so far this year, NSW has seen a 20% increase in battery-related fire or explosion incidents when comparing the number of fires this year to the first half of last year.


Batteries contain a range of metals including lead, mercury and lithium which are hazardous when dealt with incorrectly.


"Batteries are vital to powering our day-to-day lives, but not enough people are aware of the dangers they pose when thrown into kerbside waste and recycling bins," said Ms Tesch.


“There has been a significant increase in fires in garbage trucks and waste facilities across the state, but we can avoid them on the Central Coast if we dispose of batteries properly.


“Batteries should never be put in household bins and should instead be dropped off at a battery collection site for recycling.


“When disposed of correctly, 95 per cent of battery components can be recycled into new products.”


There are several recycling options available to consumers.


The NSW Government has partnered with B-cycle, the national product stewardship scheme for batteries. B-cycle drop off points are available at large retail outlets, such as Woolworths, Bunnings and Officeworks.


Community Recycling Centres (CRC) and Household Chemical CleanOut events also accept batteries so you can now drop off small household batteries at over 1,000 locations across NSW for recycling.


When a battery has reached the end of its life, the terminals should be taped with clear sticky tape. Once taped, batteries can be stored in a cool dry place, out of reach of children, before being taken to B-cycle drop off point or CRC for safe collection and recycling.


Find your nearest drop off point at Cleanout or B-cycle.


Products with batteries embedded in them, like phones, laptops and power tools, should be disposed of at an e-waste recycling facility or e-waste drop-off event.


To find out more about safe battery disposal, visit the EPA’s website.


Simple ways to be battery smart:


Batteries should never be placed in household waste or recycling bins.


When your battery has reached its end of life, tape the terminals (ends of the battery) with clear sticky tape.


Once taped, batteries should be taken to a Community Recycling Centre or dropped off at a dedicated recycling point, which many of Australia’s largest retailers offer in store.


If a product has a battery embedded into it, these should be disposed of separately at an e-waste facility or at an e-waste drop-off event.


To find out more about safe battery disposal and your nearest recycling point visit B-cycle.

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