Rubbish & recycling  |  13 May 2019

A 12-month battery collection trial is under way in Christchurch amid rising concerns over battery-sparked fires in wheelie bin collection trucks and at processing facilities.

The Christchurch City Council-run trial focuses on the best approach to collecting batteries to help prevent fires and protect the public and the environment.

Based on the results of the year-long trial, the Council plans to build a case study for government and industry to create a “product stewardship” for household batteries.

Council Solid Waste Manager Ross Trotter says the new campaign highlights the dangers to people, the environment and waste facilities of the casual disposal of batteries.

Discarded batteries are sparking fires in waste.

Discarded batteries are sparking fires in waste.

“Batteries have caused multiple fires in both collection vehicles and the recycling facility in Christchurch, along with risk to people and the environment,” Mr Trotter says. “This trial offers a safer approach to the handling of batteries for a suitable recycling solution.”

Under the collection trial, people can dispose of unwanted batteries used in common devices such as laptops and cell phones for free at any EcoDrop Recycling Centre around the city and Bunnings Tower Junction, Mitre 10 Papanui, New World Durham Street and Countdown Ferrymead.

Batteries must be loose and without packaging.

Car batteries are not part of this trial as they are already able to be dropped off for free at any EcoDrop Recycling Centre.

New Zealand-owned E-Cycle collects the batteries from the above locations for sorting before shipping them overseas for recycling.

“With particularly lithium-ion battery use climbing, it’s more important than ever to take a responsible approach to battery disposal,” Mr Trotter says.

“The improper disposal of batteries can cause chemicals to pollute the natural environment, representing a risk to people, animals and marine life.

“We need to recognise the long-term consequences of careless battery disposal and make the most of the recycling options offered by this trial.”

For out more about the battery recycling scheme.