The University purchases and disposes of significant numbers of batteries each year and may also have outlets through which it sells portable batteries. The environmental impact of waste batteries can be minimised by their correct storage and disposal. The information below gives guidance on this.
The chemical and physical properties of batteries can present a risk of fire if these items are collected together without suitable precautions. As a result the following storage procedures should be observed:
- The collection container should not be metallic on the inside. See below for information on obtaining battery recycling boxes
- Store batteries separately from other hazardous materials
- Protect against damage (e.g. crushing or puncturing).
- Tape the terminals of each battery (e.g. with sellotape) to prevent them shorting with each other or with anything else that they contact. If batteries short there is a risk of fire.
- Protect from dampness.
- Store in a location that is remote from combustible material and also from any corridors, means of escape or fire doors.
- Batteries containing lithium must not be stored together as a single battery type. If you collect waste lithium batteries these should be mixed with other types of portable batteries.
- Waste batteries should be stored for the minimum practical length of time.
Batteries that are special waste
Several types of batteries are classified as special waste (that is waste which is hazardous):
- Lead batteries
- Ni-Cd batteries
- Batteries containing mercury
- Electrolyte from batteries and accumulators
These must not be put into the normal waste stream or into any battery recycling container
Special waste is subject to additional legislative control and must be disposed through a specialist contractor. The University has appointed an approved supplier for chemical waste that can also dispose of batteries that are special waste. Further information on using this supplier can be found in the chemical waste section of SEPS web site.
Batteries that are not Special Waste
The majority of the batteries that the University requires to dispose of are not special waste and these should be recycled through the dedicated battery recycling stream. Batteries must not be put into the normal recycling stream that is used for paper, cans, plastic etc.
The uplift and disposal of batteries that are not Special Waste is undertaken by the company that holds the contract for disposal of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), CCL North. To arrange uplift and replacement of full battery boxes complete the form ‘WEEE disposal request form’ that is available in the forms section of SEPS web site.
Further information on good practice and legislative compliance is available in the SEPS Guidance Note 'Waste Batteries - key issues related to storage and disposal'.