£158m Waste Fires & the Dangers of Lithium-ion Battery Disposal in the UK

July 20, 2022

Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries can come in all different shapes and sizes and can be used in a range of different products, from electric and hybrid vehicles to mobile phones and are the go-to battery in present day due to their long-lasting lifespan and ability to be recharged.

Although highly efficient at powering a plethora of technology and machinery, li-ion batteries pose a huge health and safety hazard in the UK.

A new report produced by the Environmental Services Association (ESA), entitled ‘Cutting Lithium-ion Battery Fired in the Waste Industry’, highlights that in the UK an estimated 201 waste fires are caused by Li-ion batteries every year. The report contains joint research and support from Eunomia Research & Consulting, National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC), the Environment Agency (EA) and WISH (the Waste Industry Safety and Health Forum).

Research Conducted by the ESA found that lithium-ion (li-ion) batteries account for around 48% of all waste fires occurring in the UK each year and are costing the UK economy up to £158million annually. In addition, the report details that with the increase in li-ion batteries likely to continue, so with it the number of waste fires the cause unless better practices and related policy measures are introduced to capture lithium-ion batteries and keep them out of mixed and residual recycling waste streams.

However, the report also details key measures to reduce these waste fires caused by lithium-ion batteries including, banning batteries from residual and mixed recycling waste streams, a deposit return scheme or an incentive to encourage the return of waste batteries for recycling and a long-term solution that could be to change the lithium-ion (li-ion) battery design to reduce the risk of the batteries starting fires.

As the need for lithium-ion batteries in the UK so will the risk of fires and it is imperative that households and organisations have a safe and sustainable solution to disposing of their lithium-ion batteries.

At Cellcycle we have developed a solution for businesses across the UK to sustainable recycle their Lithium-ion (li-ion) batteries. Using ADR and government approved packaging, transport and processes we can safely collect li-ion batteries and battery material to ensure they are treated properly separate from all other waste streams. By using Cellcycle or a similar accredited battery recycler organisations can prevent the risk of fires and damage to the environment.

To read the full report click here where you can download the ‘Cutting lithium-ion Battery Fires in the Waste Industry’ report.

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