Binned batteries linked to fires

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NPDC is reminding locals to keep batteries out of kerbside bins after they sparked up to three fires at facilities across the region this year.


Last month a fire at Hawera transfer station was linked to a disposed lithium battery, while a battery is believed to have caused a blaze at New Plymouth’s material recovery facility in Colson Road (MRF). This is the second at the facility this year after a battery caused a fire in April resulting in 500kg of valuable recyclable steel being lost.


A blaze in a recycling truck in Auckland recently was also believed to be caused by a battery in a vaping device igniting.


Lithium-ion batteries are those commonly found in vapes, phones, laptops and some power tools that get very hot and can ignite when squashed, punctured, shredded or soaked in liquids so need to be recycled properly.


“These incidents are a reminder about what can happen when batteries or objects containing batteries are put in kerbside bins,” says NPDC Resource Recovery Manager Kimberley Hope.


“The simple rule is that no battery should go in into a recycling or landfill bin, but rather take your used batteries to The Junction or another battery recycling service offered.”


Locals can drop off up to five kilograms of household batteries for free at The Junction’s Reuse Shop on Colson Road. There is a small charge for lithium batteries and those over nine volts need to have contact points taped.


For more details about what can go into recycling or landfill bins refer to our Recycling Guide on our website


Meanwhile, NPDC is currently consulting with the community on its Draft Waste Management and Minimisation Plan, which includes options for improving waste and recycling collections in urban and rural areas. Check out the draft plan at before feedback closes 5pm today (12 September).


Fast facts:

  • In 2021/22, New Plymouth District households sent 5,300 tonnes of mixed recyclables from the kerbside, plus 1,450T of food scraps.
  • Transfer stations sent through 1,200T of mixed recyclables in the same period.
  • The Junction will operate from a temporary site next to its car park from mid-September while a new, permanent building is constructed.


Caption: A blaze at the material recovery facility in Colson Road is thought to have been caused by a lithium battery.