Lithium batteries cause garbage truck fire

5 February 2020

Waverley Council staff were lucky to escape injury last week after the contents of their rubbish truck caught on fire during a routine collection.

The fire was caused by lithium batteries igniting rubbish inside the compactor when it was compressed with other waste inside the truck.

Batteries should never be disposed of with regular household rubbish as they can cause sparks in a garbage truck or at the sorting facility.

In the past 12 months, improperly disposed of batteries have been linked to five other fires in our garbage trucks.

Mayor of Waverley, Paula Masselos, said she was relieved no-one was injured in the latest incident.

“Our dedicated garbage collection crew acted quickly on their feet and extinguished the fire and hosed down the remaining contents of the truck,” Mayor Masselos said.

“This incident reminds us of the dangers of throwing batteries in the bin, whether it’s standard AAA or AA batteries we use in television remotes and children’s toys, to batteries found in other common appliances such as laptops, mobile phones, power tools and cameras.”

Waverley residents are encouraged to recycle their old batteries the following correct ways:

  1. Through Waverley Council’s problem waste drop-off stations at Customer Service or Waverley Library:
  2. The NSW EPA Community Recycling Centre:
  3. Drop off batteries at Officeworks, Aldi, and other major retailers
  4. Or find a recycling option near you at

Commercial businesses must have a commercial waste contract. For hazardous waste such as batteries please visit:

To learn more about how to dispose of problem waste safely and sustainably, contact Waverley Council Customer Service on 9083 8000.