Fire prevention Safety

Be Battery Aware: GMFRS joins forces with Recycle for Greater Manchester to prevent battery fires

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) is working with Recycle for Greater Manchester (R4GM) to raise awareness about the fire risks associated with disposing of batteries in household bins.

The ‘Be Battery Aware’ campaign aims to educate residents across Greater Manchester on how to dispose of batteries, and items containing batteries such as electric toothbrushes, shavers, games consoles and vapes, properly and safely.

Battery-related fires are on the rise in Greater Manchester, in part, due to the increased popularity of disposal vapes and e-cigarettes. From April 1 to June 30 2023, GMCA’s waste management contractor; SUEZ reported 37 fire-related incidents due to lithium batteries alone.

Firefighters have been called to 20 incidents relating to disposed batteries over the past two years with 14 of those occurring at waste disposal sites. Each incident at a waste disposal site affects the operation of disposal services and the safety of on-site staff.

Batteries can cause fires when crushed during the bin collection or waste sorting process. For this reason, batteries need to be disposed of at household waste recycling centres or recycling points found at supermarkets, shops, or workplaces.   

By raising awareness of the consequences of incorrect battery disposal, in household waste and recycling bins, the ‘Be Battery Aware’ campaign sets out to reduce the number of related incidents across the city-region.

There are some simple steps you can take to ensure that you dispose of batteries, and items containing batteries, safely:

  • Dispose of batteries and items containing batteries at household waste recycling centres or recycling points
  • Do not put old batteries or electrical items in any of your household bins, including recycling bins
  • Find out if your local supermarkets, electrical retailers, shops, or workplace have a recycling point at
  • Check items for hidden batteries before recycling
  • Return vapes to where you bought them as retailers are obligated to provide a take-back scheme

As part of the campaign, Greater Manchester residents will see messages across social media, local media, and online advertising with tips on how to properly and safely dispose of batteries, and items containing batteries.

Area Manager Billy Fenwick, GMFRS’ Head of Prevention, said:

“We’re launching this campaign following a number of battery-related fires in Greater Manchester.

“It is vitally important that we dispose of batteries, and items containing batteries like vapes, correctly because the consequences can be devastating if we don’t.

“By working with Recycle for Greater Manchester, we hope to alert people of all ages to the dangers of improper disposal and inform them of where they can discard their batteries safely.

“Batteries can be found in a lot of our everyday items so please follow our advice and help us reduce the number of battery-related fires in our city-region.”

GMCA Chief Executive Lead for Environment, Waste and Recycling Harry Catherall said:

“R4GM are pleased to be working in partnership with GMFRS to raise awareness of the issue of incorrect battery disposal in Greater Manchester resulting in an increase of fires in bins and at waste sites.

“Batteries should not be put in any of your bins at home. This includes traditional batteries as well as hidden batteries in items like electric toothbrushes and shavers. There’s a particular problem with vapes and electric cigarettes, which we are finding more and more of in household bins, putting our collection crews and recycling staff at risk.

“Residents are reminded that they can recycle batteries and other electrical items by taking them to their nearest recycling centre. Many large shops across the city region also run battery and electrical take back schemes.”

Please visit the Recycle for Greater Manchester website or your local council website for more information on how to recycle your batteries.

Article Published: 07/08/2023 10:44 AM