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Case 343 - Disposal of dead batteries in a supermarket recycling container

Issue

Enquirer was in a supermarket attempting to dispose of dead batteries in a sealed plastic box that was normally located on Customer Services. After enquiring where it now was, they were told that because of health and safety they have to keep it in a cupboard.

Panel opinion

There are some hazards associated with recycling and storing used batteries. These include contact with acid, which often leaks from old batteries, and a small risk of fire. Supermarkets and others who offer a recycling service have a responsibility to supervise the use of the recycling container to manage and control the associated risks. In this case they have chosen to do that by asking for batteries to be handed over to be placed in the container, but there are other ways of effectively managing the risk. This supermarket’s approach is a policy decision to manage the risks not a prescribed health and safety requirement.

2015-01-13