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Waste management industry survey counts the cost of battery fires

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Around 30 fires per day are being caused across Australia’s recycling and waste facilities due to batteries, according to new research from the Australian Council of Recycling (ACOR) and the Waste Contractors and Recyclers Association of NSW (WCRA.)

According to a joint statement from the pair on Friday, there have been somewhere between 10,000 and 12,000 battery-related fires across waste and recycling streams in Australia in the last 12 months, and such fires “have pushed up costs for waste and recycling businesses by an average of $400,000, and spurred an exponential rise in insurance premiums”.

“Electronic items with batteries are dangerous across all parts of the waste and recycling system—including trucks, transfer stations, landfills and recycling facilities,” said WCRA Executive Director Brett Lemin.  

“These items are finding their way into the wrong waste systems because there are very few legitimate avenues for safe collection and the community is not sufficiently aware of the danger caused by incorrect disposal.”

Urgent government action to comprehensively roll out safe collection and ensure manufacturers are accountable for the true cost of managing electronic items is needed, according to ACOR’s CEO, Suzanne Toumbourou. 

“The current policy gap is threatening the safety of our workers and the future of recycling.”

The Industry survey: Battery fires in waste & recycling report can be accessed at ACOR’s website via this link.

Picture: credit

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