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New kerbside collection scheme for batteries

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By Marc McLean, local democracy reporter
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New kerbside collection scheme for batteries

AN additional waste collection service could be introduced across the region under new plans.

Dumfries and Galloway Council is proposing to start a kerbside collection of household batteries.

The main reasons for this specific collection is that the removal of batteries from general waste increases recycling, and also helps to prevent fires.

A council report, due to be discussed at the communities committee next Tuesday, states: “Removal of batteries from general waste reduces the likelihood of fires starting in refuse collection vehicles, within transfer stations or the mechanical biological treatment (MBT) facility.

“For example, indications suggest that a small fire at the Castle Douglas Waste Transfer Station in March was likely to have been caused by a damaged battery.

“The MBT facility shreds waste and the presence of batteries within the residual waste increases likelihood of flames and/or fires. While fire detection and suppression systems are in place, fires can still occur, resulting in shutdown, with associated waste diversion costs.

“The costs of diverting waste from the MBT are significant so reducing the likelihood of fires mitigates financial as well as other risks.

“Fire risk aside, recycling batteries recovers valuable metals that can be used in future battery production, and, while small in terms of overall mass, will increase wider recycling rates.”

In order to fund kerbside battery collections, council officers are proposing that the local authority submits a bid to the Scottish Government’s Recycling Improvement Fund Small Grant Scheme.

Currently, batteries are collected at household waste recycling centres. Batteries can also be deposited in collection facilities at larger shops.

However, council officers admit that neither of these options are “convenient for the householder”, therefore batteries are more likely to be dumped alongside household waste.

A kerbside collection of batteries would increase the volume recycled and also reduce waste going to landfill.

Meanwhile, the battery fire risk was also raised recently by Mid and Upper Nithsdale Councillor Tony Berretti as he highlighted how the flimsy batteries in disposable vapes were hazardous and could cause blazes when discarded with other waste.

With no secure method for their collection, sorting or storage, Councillor Berretti argues that this was “thousands of accidents waiting to happen”.

Councillors will decide at Tuesday’s communities committee whether or not to apply for Scottish Government funding to make the battery kerbside collection scheme a reality.

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