Eunomia has established a consortium to explore how to best prevent fires caused by end-of-life lithium-ion batteries. They are known to be a catalyst for problems, even while in use, as the video below demonstrates.
‘Li-ion batteries are powering an increasing number of electronics, including portable devices like smart phones, as well as power tools and, more recently, electric vehicles,’ says Sophie Crossette, the project leader from Eunomia. She estimates that the average person in the UK throws away 23.9kg of e-scrap every year.
Crossette observes that li-ion batteries in small electronic equipment are likely to be incorrectly thrown into normal recycling or residual waste bins. She urges that if the batteries cannot be removed in a practical or safe manner that the entire product ought to be handed in at battery or used electronics collection points.
‘Consumers might not even realise a product has a li-ion battery in it – the battery in a singing birthday card, for example, can cause a serious hazard if disposed of in the recycling system for highly combustible paper and card,’ Crossette points out. ‘As their prevalence increases, fires caused by incorrect disposal of Li-ion batteries are becoming more and more common.’
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