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Recycle Technologies has been delivering recycling services to the community since 1993. As a recycling and shredding company based in the Midwest, we operate licensed facilities in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Notably, Recycle Technologies stands as the sole Minority-Owned document destruction and recycling enterprise in the Midwest region.

Strategies for Safe Lithium-ion Battery Disposal To Prevent Fires 

April 15, 2024
It is estimated that 3 Billion batteries are discarded by Americans each year and around a whopping 20,000 fires are caused by lithium-ion batteries. These fires primarily erupt due to issues related to overheating or malfunctioning batteries.  It can be a scary situation when a lithium-ion battery malfunctions and causes a fire. According to various […]
Strategies for Safe Lithium-ion Battery Disposal To Prevent Fires 

It is estimated that 3 Billion batteries are discarded by Americans each year and around a whopping 20,000 fires are caused by lithium-ion batteries. These fires primarily erupt due to issues related to overheating or malfunctioning batteries

It can be a scary situation when a lithium-ion battery malfunctions and causes a fire. According to various experts, in colder climates, it is necessary to store these batteries at room temperature to avoid the risk of freezing. As a precaution, during the winter season, they are often brought inside the house. However, one might unexpectedly come across smoke and detect the distinct odor of burning plastic and strong chemical fumes.

It is common to feel the urge to use water when dealing with a lithium-ion battery, but this should be avoided. Water and batteries do not mix well. It is recommended to use sand instead. While you may be tempted to remove the battery from your house, warning labels advise against touching it due to the risk of explosion. 

In most cases, battery fires originate from a single cell. Whenever you can, wear fire-resistant gloves to lift the battery and take it outdoors, but be very careful. Once outside, make sure to keep the battery away from buildings, bushes, or cars and try to put it in a firepit or cover it up with sand. 

If you find yourself in such a situation, it is advised to rush outside and contact the fire department immediately. They will probably instruct you to evacuate the premises to

prevent inhaling poisonous smoke fumes from the lithium-ion battery. While it is true that modern batteries have several safety measures in place, they are not completely accident-proof. Therefore, prioritizing safe lithium-ion battery disposal should be a priority.  

To prevent a dangerous fire erupting due to a poorly stored or damaged lithium-ion battery, what practices can be adopted? Below are the most effective methods to decrease the chances of encountering such a fire.

Keep Lithium-ion Batteries & Devices in a Fire-Resistant and Smoke-Proof Pouch or Cabinet

Search online for items such as Lipo storage bags or cases. These cases are designed to be fire-proof and smoke-proof, providing protection in the event of a fire. If a battery malfunctions, these bags prevent the spread of fire or fumes in your residence or workplace. They are reasonably priced and can be purchased from various online retailers and certain home improvement stores.

It is recommended to invest in a storage cabinet specifically designed for secure storage of lithium-ion batteries and rechargeable power tools if you have a large number of batteries at your worksite.

To enhance safety, remember to keep all lithium-ion batteries in fire-resistant bags when they are not in use. Besides batteries, these bags can also be used to store other rechargeable electronic equipment like smart phones and laptops. 

Optimum Storage Conditions For Lithium-ion Batteries 

Always store your batteries at room temperature in a clean and dry environment. Opt for a room that is both dry and has a temperature that falls between 40 ºF and 80 ºF. Avoid freezing or leaving them in a highly humid environment. In case the temperature in your garage drops below 32ºF, relocate them to a warmer indoor storage area or basement. 

Monitor Their Charge Frequently

It is essential to keep an eye on the charge of a lithium-ion battery during the winter season, especially if the battery is not in use. It is crucial to ensure that they are not completely drained and to keep them charged. If these batteries have not been utilized for six months, it is recommended to put them into use. However, it is also important to avoid leaving them at a full charge for extended periods of time. For instance, if necessary, one can use an electric mower battery in an electric snow thrower.

During the process of inspecting the charge, it is important to also search for any indications of a defective battery. Is the battery swollen? Has it experienced any melting of plastic? Is there any visible damage on the case? In such cases, it is advisable to recycle the battery immediately. If necessary, take photographs to support a warranty claim.

Do Not Keep Devices Plugged in All The Time

Always make sure to remove lithium-ion battery devices from their charger after they are fully charged. Avoid leaving devices plugged in, even when their battery is fully charged. It is best to disconnect battery operated devices and store them in a fire-resistant bag until they are needed for use again. 

Additionally, as a precautionary measure only charge devices that house lithium-ion batteries while you are awake and at home. Don’t leave these items unattended while on charge. 

Promptly Recycle Lithium-Ion Batteries that are Dead or Malfunctioning

When a battery loses its ability to hold a charge, it should be recycled correctly. In the case of a new battery that displays an error while attempting to charge, it may be in sleep mode or defective and should be exchanged for a replacement.

Conclusion

With the fast pace of the modern era, it is not unusual for businesses and individuals to have piling heaps of old lithium-ion batteries. To avoid this, it is necessary to adopt eco-friendly ways for lithium-ion battery disposal. 

If your lithium-ion batteries are covered by a warranty, you should contact the manufacturer. In most instances, they will provide a replacement battery free of cost. But remember to ask them to pick up the defective battery too. Although this is typically their responsibility, it may not always be carried out. If they decline to take back the battery, it is advisable to inquire about alternative lithium-ion battery disposal options. 

E-waste recycling companies such as Recycle Technologies have battery recycling boxes available. To ensure safety, place the battery in a freezer bag and cover the terminals with electrical tape before disposal.

Are you in possession of a large quantity of batteries that require proper lithium-ion battery disposal? If so, Recycle Technologies is here to assist you. We offer versatile recycling kits that you can order from our online store. Additionally, we also have drop-off locations for all your battery waste in Wisconsin and Minnesota. 

To find out more, reach out to our team or send us an email. 

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Recycle Technologies has been providing services to the community since 1993. We are a Midwest-based recycling and shredding company.
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1525 99th Ln NE, Blaine, Minnesota,55449

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dispatch@recycletechnologies.com

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