Numerous waste fires related to batteries
According to municipal officials, batteries dumped in domestic trash bins start roughly 700 fires a year in dustcarts and waste-processing facilities.
Damaged or crushed lithium-ion batteries have a risk of exploding.
According to the Environmental Services Association, the annual cost of fires to trash operators and fire services is about £158 million.
A search engine is available online to assist individuals in locating the closest recycling facility. Nonprofit organization Material Focus conducted the poll of municipal authorities.
Lithium-ion batteries, which may be found in tiny, rechargeable gadgets like toothbrushes, toys, phones, and computers, have gotten stronger recently.
“Hided batteries” are typically found in smaller, more affordable, and frequently used gadgets, including certain musical greeting cards.
According to Ben Johnson of the Environmental Services Association (ESA), “more and more individuals were throwing gadgets containing these batteries in with domestic waste” or combining them with other recycling, according to BBC News.
Because of their propensity to explode or burn when damaged, he noted, “it poses a serious hazard.”
Additionally, they are likely to be broken, compressed, squashed, or soaked when placed in general trash or recycling.
“That might lead to them short-circuiting. Of course, this places them around other combustible materials like plastic, paper, and cardboard, which increases the risk of pretty large fires.
The most common kind of rechargeable battery used in portable consumer devices, they are made up of two electrodes that are separated by a separator that permits charged particles, such as lithium ions, to go from one electrode to the other through a solvent.
The ions are pushed back to their starting point when the battery is recharged.
In general, batteries are relatively safe as long as they are confined and in tact. However, if the electrodes come into direct touch with one another, all the charged particles may abruptly discharge in an explosion, which, given that the battery’s chemical composition is combustible, may swiftly result in a fire.
As more people use and discard electronic gadgets, the problem is becoming worse, said to Mark Andrews, the National Fire Chiefs Council’s waste-fires head.
He urged people to recycle their batteries and electricals rather than throwing them in the trash.
“These fires create a serious risk to employees working on lorries and at trash facilities, provide a difficult challenge for the fire services to handle, and have a considerable impact on nearby communities.
“By making sure they properly dispose of electrical equipment, everyone can help avoid fires.”
“The ideal thing is for people to bring any batteries to their local recycling center or to any large supermarket,” said Laura Fisher of the waste-management firm FCC Environment. “Most of them tend to have a recycling container there.”
Additionally, advocates for electrical waste reduction and fire safety are pressing for more precise guidelines on how to properly dispose of batteries, including recycling them.
A consultation on this matter has now been postponed by the government until 2023.