Zombie Lithium Batteries – An Explosive Problem
Over the last few days, main stream news outlets have been picking up on the issues that zombie lithium batteries have been causing at waste and recycling parts.
A zombie battery of any kind is effectively a battery that is considered dead and is discarded to waste. In the case of lithium batteries, which are used in many electronic devices such as mobile phones and power tools, the battery itself is not necessarily discharged when the electronic device is consigned to waste.
Many of these devices and batteries are still disposed of in general waste and are often punctured in the process of handling them. Lithium-ion batteries can ignite or explode when damaged and will therefore set fire to other waste materials.
It is now believed that this issue led to more than 250 fires at UK recycling and waste facilities in last year’s environmental figures, which represented around a third of all fires reported. In some cases, this lead to fires requiring many firefighters and the evacuation of local residents as the incidents were potentially putting lives at risk.
Lithium batteries are classified as dangerous goods class 9 and legislation relating to their transport has been constantly changing now they are used in more and more products worldwide.
Evolution specialise in the detailed control measures needed to move and store products with lithium batteries both domestically and internationally. During the logistics process, specialist packing, marking and labeling is needed, along with segregation from other dangerous goods products, but controls surrounding their waste are less demanding.
For more information on recycling zombie batteries responsibly, we recommend taking a look at the Environmental Services Association’s ‘Take Charge’ website here.
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