There is no ‘magic formula’ to eliminate the risk of fires caused by lithium-ion batteries, the WEEE Forum says in its latest report. The electronics recycling organisation has joined forces with other industry parties to gather information on the best ways of combatting battery fires.
‘It is imperative that actions are taken urgently in all steps of the lifecycles of electronics and lithium batteries by all actors in the value chain: from design to disposal, transport and treatment,’ the WEEE Forum declares. ‘Further work to assess the extent of the issue and potential solutions is required.’
It has overseen a 107 page report with support from EuRIC, EUCOBAT, EERA, MWE and the WEEELABEX Organisation. The findings are partly based on a new survey into the experiences and preferences of almost 110 industry stakeholders.
What stands out is that 74% of respondents indicated having implemented good practices and mitigation measures at their facilities in recent years, while some 62% experienced battery incidents at some point.
A thermal event may become a severe incident if is not rapidly detected and extinguished. Training, prevention, and detection measures are considered essential for identifying and tackling risky situations. The report includes recommendations for producer responsibility organisations of electronics and batteries, local authorities and policy makers.
‘The European Green Deal and the new Circular Economy Action Plan identify electronics among key product value chains where recycling plays a major role in achieving sustainability goals: battery fires are a genuine challenge for the recycling industry and the entire value chain,’ says EuRIC.
‘Properly addressing the risk of fires caused by electronics containing lithium batteries through a multi-stakeholder approach is essential to support electronics’ recyclers which play an essential role in the achievement of the EU’s overarching sustainability goals.’
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