More than 180 tonnes of batteries were thrown into rubbish bins by householders over 12 months in West Sussex.
And now residents are being urged to think before they throw them away.
An increasing number are showing up in the county’s household rubbish, and they all present a fire risk.
A county council spokesperson said: “We have seen a number of fires from batteries or electrical goods over the years, in refuse trucks, and at our waste facilities.
“With levels going up, especially smaller batteries, the waste and recycling contractors for West Sussex have both flagged their concerns to the county council.”
Cabinet Member for the Environment, Deborah Urquhart said: “Any battery has the potential to spark and it can happen so easily; they only need to be damaged or crushed in the truck that collects your waste or your recycling, or at the sites where we process your waste.”
“Our recycling trucks are full of dry materials like paper and card, so you can imagine how easily they could catch light. It doesn’t take much, a piece of foil, a staple, even the metal floor of the truck; they can all cause a battery to short.”
“And of course, batteries contain hazardous heavy metals which need to be dealt with properly. That’s why you will see battery bins at so many retailers, and of course at our own Household Waste Recycling Sites.”
To find your nearest battery recycling point at a shop or supermarket near where you live, go to this website and enter your postcode: https://www.recyclenow.com/local-recycling
All the major supermarkets offer battery take-back schemes:
Other retailers which take back used batteries include - Travis Perkins; B&Q; Poundland; Lidl; One Stop; Wickes; Mothercare; Screwfix; Debenhams; Maplin; Benchmarx.