Council: Don’t throw batteries away in kerbside bins

Wellington Shire Council is reinforcing batteries cannot be disposed of in kerbside bins under any circumstance, after a nationwide increase in battery-related fires in waste collection vehicles, landfills and recycling sorting facilities.

Fast becoming the most significant issue in the waste management sector, incorrectly disposing of batteries causes significant risk to human life, as well as damage to recycling sorting machinery, landfill faces, garbage trucks and the environment.

Batteries’ tendency to combust and release toxic substances when disposed of incorrectly puts council’s staff, contractors and facilities at risk.

Wellington Shire Council Mayor Ian Bye pleaded with residents to do the right thing and take used batteries to a drop-off point for recycling.

“By disposing of batteries correctly, you’re giving them a second life and recycling precious materials, while keeping our truck drivers and waste workers safe,” Cr Bye said.

Regular ‘AA’ and other sized standard batteries, button batteries, rechargeable batteries, phone batteries, lithium batteries and easily removable batteries can be dropped at dedicated recycling points at most local supermarkets and hardware stores, as well as at any Wellington Shire transfer station, the Port of Sale and Yarram Hub.

In general, any item with a plug, battery or power cord that is no longer working is considered e-waste (electronic waste). E-waste cannot go in any household bin. Items containing embedded batteries should be disposed of at e-waste recycling facilities. E-waste is accepted for free at any Wellington Shire transfer station. Car batteries and golf buggy batteries are accepted for free at any transfer station.

In Victoria, e-waste was banned from landfill in 2019 because of the toxic chemicals it can leach into the environment, however the federal government estimates a staggering 90 per cent of used handheld batteries still end up in landfill or are disposed of incorrectly.