Battery disposal sparking truck fires

Sunshine Coast waste collection truck. | Newsreel
A Sunshine Coast Council waste collection truck with scorch marks from an internal fire. | Photo: Supplied by Sunshine Coast Council.

Battery-related fires in waste collection trucks have prompted Sunshine Coast Council to urge residents to dispose of the charging devices more safely.

Council’s Environment and Liveability Portfolio Councillor Maria Suarez said there had been 15 truck fires on the Sunshine Coast over the past two years.

Cr Suarez said when batteries, or battery-powered devices, were crushed in the back of a waste collection truck they could ignite and cause an explosive fire.

“Battery fires are not only dangerous but also difficult to control, posing a risk to waste management workers and our community,” she said.

Cr Suarez said batteries should never be binned and residents could drop them off for free at more than 40 Sunshine Coast locations.

“From supermarkets and hardware stores to Sunshine Coast Council’s Resource Recovery Centres, visit Recycle Mate to find the location closest to you,” Cr Suarez said.

“It’s easy to safely dispose of your batteries. Use an old glass jar to store your used batteries in, and then once a month, return the used batteries to a drop off location.”

Cr Suarez said batteries contained valuable metals that could be recovered and reused.

“Up to 95 percent of a battery is recovered when taken to a drop off location.

“Batteries are made of finite resources so it’s good for our environment to continue to reuse these resources in the circular economy.”

She said there was a range of industrial applications for the recovered materials including agricultural fertilisers, new batteries steel making, concrete and construction.