Community takes charge of safe battery disposal

Published on 07 December 2023


Rockhampton region residents are being asked to take charge of the way they dispose of batteries more safely, with B-cycle battery drop-off points now available across Council’s Waste Facilities.

Waste and Recycling Councillor Shane Latcham said this new initiative will help provide the local community with convenient and safe means to dispose of used household and vehicle batteries, reducing the risks that come with incorrect disposal and stockpiling.

“Improper disposal of batteries, particularly in kerbside waste and recycling bins, continues to be an ongoing issue in our community and the suspected cause of fires in numerous waste and recycling facilities across Australia,” Cr Latcham said.

“When you throw batteries away, they end up in our waste and recycling trucks, waste transfer station, recycling facilities and landfill where they become crushed, creating a spark and causing fires that risk the safety of our truck drivers and machine operators.

“It’s important to recognise the impact incidents like this have on our community, with high cost in damages to vehicles and facilities, emergency service callout fees and clean-up expenses.

“These challenges have a ripple effect and impact our ability to provide essential waste and recycling services.”

Councillor Shane Latcham expressed that over the past 12 months, 10 fire related incidents have occurred as a direct result of improper battery disposal, with 13 suspected battery related fires.

“Just a couple of months ago we had a truck that had to dump its load of recyclables on the street in Rockhampton because something caught fire in its load. Luckily the driver reacted quickly, but it still cost thousands in clean up and repairs,” Cr Latcham said.

"This year has also led to the necessary installation of a thermal imaging camera to detect hotspots and send alerts for any overnight fires at the main face of the landfill.

“This holiday season, whether you’re cleaning up or buying batteries for toys, please don’t toss used, swollen or leaking batteries in kerbside waste and recycling bins.

“Council is now an accredited B-cycle battery steward, with free battery drop-off points available at all seven of our Waste Facilities along with many shopping centres, supermarkets, and various retailers.

“Just by following B-cycle’s three simple steps - Don’t toss them, Tape them and Take them – you can help keep our staff and facilities safe.

“Simply grab a glass jar, pop on a label so everyone’s in the know, tape those battery terminals and drop them off at your nearest free collection point.

“All batteries collected in the B-cycle bins are transported by Ecocycle to a mixed battery sorting plant in Melbourne, where the metals are extracted and on sold to manufacturers. Additionally, the plastics will go to Visy for their Waste to Energy plant or to Close the Loop.”

For more information about your nearest B-cycle drop-off point and the type of batteries that are accepted, search for the type of batteries you would like to dispose of in the Recycle Mate search engine on Council's website or download the free Recycle Mate app.