Reporting by the Verge has found that lithium-ion batteries are catching on fire in recycling plants. A bad plant fire in Texas burned a facility for 12 hours and experts believe that a lithium-ion battery started the fire.
Lithium-ion batteries are a common component of laptops and smartphones. End of life batteries often end up in recycling centers, and they pose a risk to employees and the centers. Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries can catch fire when they are damaged, overheated or short-circuited. And batteries tossed carelessly into recycling centers are susceptible to those conditions. The size of the batteries makes them difficult to detect.
Fires are fairly common in waste facilities and many are underreported. The number of fires has increased since 2016. Bill Keegan, president of Dem-Con Companies in Minnesota, told the Verge, “Nationally we’re losing about a facility a month, burned to the ground by battery fires.”
Read more about recycling and e-waste in One Green Planet, check out these articles:
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