Waste batteries that are thrown away with the general rubbish or mixed with other recycling can be dangerous and start fires - placing recycling workers at risk and damaging vital facilities.

There have been reports where batteries have caused fires in the back of bin wagon and at waste recycling plants, posing significant risks to the operatives that encounter them, therefore it's important that we all know how to dispose of batteries correctly. The good news is that batteries can be recycled - but only if disposed of properly.

Why can't I throw my batteries in my bin at home?

Whilst they may no longer have enough charge to power your items, dead batteries thrown away in the grey bin or mixed with your recycling can be very dangerous. When your rubbish is collected the batteries within can be unintentionally squashed, punctured or shredded. When this happens, some batteries can get very hot and ignite, sometimes causing a fire or explosion in the bin wagon or at the waste facility.

Even if they don't cause a fire, once punctured the chemicals they contain can leak out and potentially harm the environment.

What should I do with my batteries?

The good news is that batteries can be recycled - but only if disposed of properly.

Dead batteries contain lots of valuable materials that can be recycled and used to make new things.

There are now many places where you can recycle your batteries for free.

All the batteries you use at home in electronic devices can be recycled for free (removable ones, rechargeable and those found in discarded electronic devices such as laptops, tablets, mobile phones, electronic toys and some e-cigarettes) by taking them to your nearest Household Waste Recycling Centre

Also, since February 2010, shops selling more than 32kg of batteries per year must provide battery recycling facilities in their store. This means there are lots of places, such as supermarkets and DIY stores, where you can take your old batteries for recycling.

Visit the Take Charge + website to find out where you can dispose of your batteries.

What's different about taking them somewhere than putting them in my bin at home?

Recycling your batteries properly means the batteries are only collected alongside other batteries and stored in a safe container. They are then collected securely and taken to specialist facilities where they can be sorted and recycled.

Can I recycle any type of battery?

All your normal household batteries can be recycled either at the Household Waste Recycling Centre or via the local take-back schemes.

Car batteries will need to be taken to the Household Waste Recycling Centre to ensure their correct disposal.