Take Charge of ‘Zombie batteries’

June 9, 2022


We have more batteries in our homes than ever before. They power everything from laptops and mobile phones to toothbrushes and vacuum cleaners. Apart from the annoyance of finding the correct charging cable, batteries on the whole are brilliant, that is until the time comes to dispose of them.

The majority of batteries thrown away in the UK are not put in the correct bins. It’s a serious environmental issue and a threat to the crews who collect bins from the kerbside, as well as those who work at waste handling facilities or who sort recyclable waste by hand before it goes off to be processed.

Dead batteries thrown away with other waste and recycling, so called “zombie batteries”, are likely to be crushed or punctured when the waste is collected and processed. Some battery types in particular, like lithium-ion (Li-ion) and nickel-metal Hydride (NiMH) can ignite or even explode when they’re damaged, putting lives at risk. The short film below explains the issue:


Between April 2019 and March 2020, lithium-ion batteries were suspected to have caused around 250 fires at waste facilities in the UK. As the number of batteries in our homes increases, the issue of fires and explosions in waste and recycling facilities due to improper disposal needs to be tackled with some urgency.

The next time you dispose of a battery (or an item containing batteries) please do consider the people who help to deal with your household waste. To find convenient and safe battery recycling facilities near you, please visit: