Increase in waste and recycling facility fires linked to batteries
May 22, 2018
The hazards of disposing of batteries, particularly lithium batteries, in general waste have been highlighted by an increase in the number of fires in waste and recycling facilities in North America.
In a breakdown in the causes of these fires in California, 65 per cent were due to batteries of some type, with 40 per cent of all fires blamed on lithium ion batteries.
While data on battery-related waste facility fires in Australia is harder to come by, it’s reasonable to believe that the situation is similar here.
And given the seriousness of fires in waste and recycling stockpiles, and the difficulty in extinguishing them, anything that can be done to reduce the risk of battery-caused fires has to be a good thing.
Keeping them separate
Unfortunately, the vast majority of dead batteries in Australia still end up in the rubbish bin, even though many retailers, council waste depots and numerous businesses collect batteries for recycling.
The rough handling of general waste makes it more likely that batteries will be damaged, increasing the chances of them causing a fire.
An obvious solution is to keep batteries out of the general waste stream, but old habits are hard to change.
It will take much wider recognition right across the community of the importance of battery recycling and much greater awareness of the wide availability of easily accessible collection points to break this habit.
Planet Ark’s recyclingnearyou.com.au website does a great job in pointing people in the right direction.
Storing them safely
Keeping batteries out of general waste and in a dedicated recycling stream makes the whole battery recycling process more efficient.
It reduces the volume of waste that needs to be handled and makes it easier and more economical to sort and store batteries in facilities that are equipped with appropriate fire detection and suppressions systems.
CMA Ecocycle has, for many years and without incident, provided simple, convenient solutions for battery recycling.
We also make it easy for workplaces of all types to establish their own battery recycling schemes as we continue to invest in improving both the efficiency and safety of battery recycling.
Without appropriate care, batteries can and will cause fires.
With simple solutions available to both organisations and individuals, we all have the means to take responsibility for the battery waste we generate, and ensure that it is all safely recycled.
To find out more about how we can help with battery recycling solutions, give us a call on 1300 32 62 92 or fill in the contact form below.