Cumbrians are being urged to take heed of a new national campaign fighting the dangers of so-called "zombie batteries".

Cumbria County Council is supporting the new national Take Charge campaign, which urges consumers to only recycle dead batteries using specialist battery recycling services, and to never throw batteries away alongside general rubbish or other recycling.

Residents across Cumbria can take their dead batteries for recycling to the recycling points in local shops, or to any of the county’s 14 Household Waste Recycling Centres.

Most shops that sell batteries have a battery recycling point.

Dead batteries thrown away with other waste and recycling, which the campaign refers to as “zombie batteries,” are likely to be crushed or punctured once the waste is collected and processed.

Some battery types in particular, like lithium-ion (Li-ion) and nickel-metal Hydride (NiMH), can ignite or even explode when this takes place.

Once this happens, the batteries can quickly set fire to other materials present in the waste, like paper, leading to serious incidents that put lives at risk.

Although safe to use normally, powerful lithium-ion batteries are typically the most dangerous if they are not recycled properly.

These batteries are often found in products like laptops, tablets, mobile phones, radio-controlled toys, Bluetooth devices, shavers, electric toothbrushes, power tools, scooters and even e-cigarettes.

The recycling and waste management trade body, the Environmental Services Association (ESA), which launched the campaign, conducts an annual survey of its members to record the proportion of fires occurring at recycling and waste facilities that are known or thought to have been started by lithium-ion batteries in particular.

Recent data collected by the ESA shows that, between April 2019 and March 2020, lithium-ion batteries alone were thought to be responsible for more than 250 fires at its members’ facilities during the year – more than a third - 38 per cent - of all fires.

Members of the ESA hope that by encouraging the public to recycle batteries responsibly, it will reduce the number of “zombie batteries” present in general waste and recycling, thereby reducing the number of fires in future.

Executive Director of the Environmental Services Association, Jacob Hayler said that unfortunately, most of the batteries thrown away in the UK at the moment are not recycled properly.

"Fires caused by carelessly discarded batteries endanger lives; cause millions of pounds of damage and disrupt waste services.

"We urge consumers to please recycle batteries responsibly by using widely available local battery recycling services.”

Cumbria County Council cabinet member for the environment, Celia Tibble said she was "very pleased" to support the ESA campaign.

"I urge residents of Cumbria to recycle their used batteries responsibly.

" Not only will this avoid damage and disruption to our vital waste services, it will also ensure more of Cumbria’s valuable resources go for recycling.”

Residents can find out more about the dangers of "zombie batteries, by visiting the campaign website.