Battery Disposal: Where To Dispose Batteries UK

If you’re wondering where you can dispose your old batteries for recycling, then this quick guide will give you all the information you need on battery disposal, and how to dispose of old alkaline and lithium batteries safely and responsibly.

Under no circumstances should old batteries be disposed of in home waste bins. Batteries disposed of in this way can cause chemical harm to the environement (if crushed or damaged) or even start fires at waste disposal facilities – which has happened in the past.

In this guide, I’ll show you the easiest ways to dispose your old batteries completely free of charge and hassle free, I’ll look at what happens when you dispose of batteries in an unsafe manner and I’ll also look at how you can avoid having to dispose of batteries altogether.

Below is a handy table of contents. Clicking on any of the article headers below will jump you straight to the place on this page you are interested in.

1. Battery Disposal – Supermarkets

The easiest and quickest way to dispose of your old batteries is to take them with you when you go shopping.

Most supermarkets and other retailers have battery bins, which will specify which types of battery are accepted.

Battery bins look like this (below) in general, although some of the newer ones are clear, and some are designed to look like one giant battery:

batteries disposal bin at asda

There’s a general rule of thumb here as well, that was introduced by the EU many years ago – whether this is still conformed to after Brexit is anyones guess, but from the places I’ve been this is still the case; if a retailer sells batteries, they are legally obliged to provide a battery recycling bin on their premises.

With that in mind then, it’s no surprise that almost all major supermarkets have battery recycling bins.

Simply take your old batteries, and dispose of them in the bins provided when doing your weekly shopping.

It’s easy, it’s quick and it’s free.


Battery recycling bins are ususally found near the main entrances or exits of their stores. If you can’t find it on entry, ask a member of staff and they’ll point you in the right direction.


Battery recycling bins are ususally found near the main entrances or exits of their stores. If you can’t find it on entry, ask a member of staff and they’ll point you in the right direction.


Battery recycling bins are ususally found near the main exits of their stores. If you can’t find it on entry, ask a member of staff and they’ll point you in the right direction.


Usually found after passing through checkout, or around the checkout area. If you can’t locate it, ask a member of staff.

Other Retailers

Again, if the store sells batteries, they usually provide a battery recycling bin.

What I have noticed over the years is that retailers have become increasingly sneaky in where they position their recycling bins. Some for example, I have seen near their new battery stand. And a lot will now place their battery bin by the exit doors rather than their entry doors, to try and get as many people in the store and potentially spend money when all they want to do is dispose of batteries.

2. Waste Recycling Centre

Most waste recylcling centres (‘the tip’) around the UK offer battery recycling.

Again, batteries should not be placed with other recycling, but do ask a member of staff at the facility and they’ll take them off you and dispose of them in the correct bin.

3. General Waste Collection

Some councils will collect old batteries with normal waste collections.

Some councils stipulate that batteries must be placed in a clear bag and tied up, and placed on top of normal waste bins for collection – important to note that they still do not want batteries in with general household rubbish.

Batteries placed in normal bins can cause fires, especially if the batteries end up getting crushed, and represent a hazard to collection teams, vehicles and centres.

However, there are some stipulations here and rules vary from council to council, so you’ll need to check on your local council website in order to ascertain whether they offer this service or not.

Simply use Google and type in ‘battery disposal + (your local council name here).

Bigger Batteries Disposal

If you have old batteries from laptops, cameras, drills and other equipment, the best way to dispose of them is at your local council waste recycling centre.

Simply ask a representative at the recycling centre and they will be able to help.

Why You Should Never Dispose Of Batteries In Your Bin

Batteries contain various chemicals that react with each other to produce energy. In short, that is how a battery works.

batteries disposal battery disposal in the UK

You should never place batteries in your general household waste bins, because depending on what waste bin you put it in, results in different hazards.

Placing them in plastic/glass bins for example, mean they go to a recycling centre. At the centre, the batteries will be handled by workers who handle and sort the waste. This puts them in danger of handling potentially damaged batteries that are prone to leaking or even exploding.

Chemicals present in most batteries can also have damaging effects on the environment and wildlife if they are sent to a landfill for example (if you put them in your general waste bin), where chemicals such as the below can leak and seep into the land.

  • Lead
  • Cadmium
  • Zinc
  • Lithium
  • Mercury

Alkaline Batteries

Alkaline batteries are a type of battery that uses an alkaline electrolyte. Alkaline batteries were once the most common type of battery, but they have been replaced by more modern types of batteries in the past few years.

Some benefits of using alkaline batteries are that they are affordable, they have a long shelf life, and they do not require any maintenance. However, they are not as long lasting as some of the newer batteries on the market.

So what could happen if I simply dispose of my alkaline batteries in my general rubbish bin?

Lithium Batteries

Lithium batteries are far more volatile and dangerous because they contain an electrolyte fluid, lithium cobalt oxide and graphite, which can become highly flammable if the battery becomes damaged or broken.

When they catch fire, the fire is intense and powerful, and can be hard to contain and extinguish.

Imagine one of these exploding in a bin truck, a waste recycling centre, or even an aircraft.

Many e-cigarettes use lithium-ion batteries, and you’ll have no doubt seen on the news the dangers of these batteries when not handled correctly.

Handled correctly, lithium batteries are a huge step up over other batteries, so it’s really important to make the correct decision when disposing of batteries.

Stop Disposing Of Batteries – And Save Money

The best way to stop battery disposal problems is to cut down on the amount and frequency you dispose of them.

Battery disposal, even done in the correct manner, costs money, time and resources.

So what better way to cut down on the need for battery disposal other than rechargeable batteries?

I thoroughly recommend rechargeable batteries. Rechargeable batteries have many benefits, including:

  • No need to buy new batteries.
  • No need to dispose of old batteries.
  • Cheaper in the long run.
  • Perfect if you have children with lots of toys requiring batteries.

Here’s a good setup if you want to start using rechargeable batteries:

Amazon Basics Intelligent Digital Battery Charger for 4 AA, AAA, Black
12,914 Reviews
Amazon Basics Intelligent Digital Battery Charger for 4 AA, AAA, Black
  • Universal 100-240V AC input for worldwide use
  • Direct plug-in style with 4 individual charging channels
Amazon Basics AA Rechargeable Batteries, Pre-charged, NiMh - Pack of 4 (Appearance may vary)
316,528 Reviews
Amazon Basics AA Rechargeable Batteries, Pre-charged, NiMh – Pack of 4 (Appearance may vary)
  • One 4-pack of pre-charged AA rechargeable batteries (2000 mAh), ideal for digital cameras, remote controls, toys, and more
  • Long battery life; extremely gradual self-discharge; maintains 80% capacity for 24 months

Battery Safety

It would be mad of me not to include a paragraph on battery safety, writing on a site called Safe Secure Homes.

While batteries and the safety of batteries have improved greatly over the years (mainly owing to the fact mercury is no longer present in 99% of them),

Never ever:

  • Place batteries near water
  • Place batteries near a heat source, including direct sunlight
  • Place batteries on a radiator in the belief it will charge them up a little
  • Let children touch, use or change batteries

You need to be specifically wary about the small round batteries that are commonly found in smaller childrens toys and car remote keys.

They are easy enough to swallow, and can have grave consequences if ingested.


Finally, here is what happened to a recycling plant in Aberdeen when a lithium battery exploded and caught fire.

The battery was disposed of with other recycling items, and not disposed of correctly.

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Questions & Comments

If you have a question or a comment on this article on battery disposal, please use the comments box below. I’ll try my best to reply to each and every one of your questions, comments and suggestions.

Stay Safe. Stay Secure.


My name is Richard.

I'm 40 years old. And I have nearly 20 years experience in various safety and security industries.

I'm here for you, sharing all my knowledge and experience to help you create a safe and secure home for you and your family.

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