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Battery fire increase leaves firefighters worried

There has been a 20 per cent increase in lithium battery-related fires in NSW in the first six months of this year compared with the same period last year as authorities urge residents to think twice about how they dispose of them.

Batteries thrown into rubbish bins instead of being disposed of safely also contribute to an increase in recyclable materials winding up in landfill.

The NSW government is concerned about the emerging issue of lithium battery fires and is pushing for greater public awareness.Credit: NSW government

In the first six months of this year, there were 114 lithium battery-related fires, with key items of concern being power packs and chargers, micro-mobility devices such as e-bikes and e-scooters and portable power banks.

Local councils and waste contractors have seen a significant rise in the number of truck and rubbish fires caused by batteries, which if damaged can explode and spark fires that are difficult to put out.

Residents should instead take batteries to a community recycling centre or drop them off at a dedicated recycling point available at many large retailers such as Coles, Woolworths, Bunnings and Officeworks.

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

NSW Environment Minister Penny Sharpe said while batteries power so much, they can be dangerous if not disposed of correctly.

“The community needs to understand that bins are not the place for batteries. The good news is we can recycle 95 per cent of batteries. But at the moment, only 10 per cent are being recycled.”

https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/there-s-more-battery-fires-than-before-and-firefighters-are-worried-20230805-p5du4j.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_national_nsw Battery fire increase leaves firefighters worried

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