Many residents are unaware of the potentially serious consequences, including endangering life, that disposing of batteries in their waste or recycling bins can have.
The Take Charge campaign follows several serious fires at waste sites and on collections vehicles in East Sussex, which have been caused by batteries exploding or igniting after being squashed, compacted, punctured, soaked in liquid or exposed to heat.
There is also a risk that batteries incorrectly disposed of could cause a fire in people’s waste or recycling bins.
Cllr Claire Dowling, lead member for transport and environment, said: “Disposing of batteries with general waste and recycling can have extremely serious consequences and can even endanger lives.
“This is a problem being faced at waste sites across the country, with batteries being responsible for more than 250 fires at waste sites in the UK between April 2019 and March 2020. And we have experienced several serious incidents ourselves in East Sussex in recent months.”
She added: “Through the Take Charge campaign, we are urging residents to work with us to prevent these fires by disposing of batteries safely or switching to rechargeable batteries, which are also more environmentally friendly.”
Local incidents in the past year include three fires in waste collections vehicles.
The campaign is also being supported by the county council’s waste contractors, Veolia and Viridor.
Veolia’s Allan Key said: “The safety of our staff is extremely important to us and that is why we are supporting this campaign. We encourage residents to think about the disposal of their unwanted electricals and spent batteries and to follow the guidance provided.”
All of the county’s Household Waste Recycling Sites, as well as many larger shops and supermarkets, will safely collect dead batteries for onward recycling.
Households in Rother, Wealden and Hastings can also dispose of their batteries and other electrical items at the kerbside by placing them in a carrier bag on top of their recycling or rubbish bin. Residents in these three areas are already recycling more than a tonne of these items alongside their general waste collection every month.
More information about the campaign and details of the best places across all areas of East Sussex to safely dispose of batteries can be found at www.takecharge.org.uk
Residents in Rother, Wealden and Hastings can find out more about disposing of batteries and other electrical items at the kerbside by visiting https://your.eastsussex.gov.uk/2020/11/27/recycle-your-old-electricals-from-home/