‘Zombie batteries’ causing hundreds of waste fires, experts warn

Industry urges people not to throw out dead batteries with household rubbish or recycling

“Zombie batteries” are causing hundreds of fires a year at waste and recycling sites, industry experts have warned. They are urging people to ensure dead batteries are not thrown away in household rubbish or recycling.

Batteries discarded with general waste are likely to be crushed or punctured during collection and processing, according to the Environmental Services Association (Esa). Some types, particularly lithium-ion and nickel-metal hydride batteries, can ignite or explode when damaged and set fire to other materials. In some cases, this leads to incidents requiring dozens of firefighters and the evacuation of residents, potentially putting lives at risk.

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