New YouGov research released today (15 Jan) suggests only 43% of the public realise that, if damaged, Lithium-ion batteries can spark fires.
UK resource management company, Veolia is calling now on the public to reclaim the value of batteries and recycle them properly to prevent fires but also preserve valuable resources.
Veolia says that fires occur in the back of recycling and waste vehicles, and at waste facilities, due to the incorrect disposal of batteries.
Found in a number of consumer gadgets and more and more household items, lithium ion batteries can become damaged in transit or by handling them and potentially cause fires when they are in flammable wastes (paper, plastics).
These materials, if treated properly can be a gift to the planet, returning valuable resources back to be used again- so we can for example move to electric vehicles more rapidly with less impact from mining more resources
Fires in waste vehicles are up by 37.5% since 2017. One of the biggest culprits is from Lithium-ion batteries, Veolia says, which when thrown away and damaged by the vehicles compactor can set alight.
The company says research shows that people are unaware of the consequences of damaged Lithium-ion batteries, and perhaps also the benefits of recycling them.
Gavin Graveson, Executive Vice President at Veolia UK and Ireland says: “Battery induced fires are a serious and unfortunately, growing hazard that Veolia is combatting.
“While enjoying your new electronics this year, make sure to take care when recycling your old ones. The average UK resident throws away around 24.5 kg of electronics every year.
“These materials, if treated properly can be a gift to the planet, returning valuable resources back to be used again- so we can for example move to electric vehicles more rapidly with less impact from mining more resources.
“So take your batteries out and bring them to our HWRCs and ensure a safe 2020 for all.”
All over the UK Lithium-ion fires are igniting “great issues”, according to Veolia, with recycling and waste plants also suffering with more than 300 fires a year.
Fresh YouGov research, on behalf of Veolia, highlighted that just over half of the public always remove batteries when disposing of their old electronics.
Removing batteries from electronic devices and placing them in special disposal containers, such as those available at Veolia Household Waste and Recycling Centres (HWRCs), is the key to ensure that they are safely and carefully recycled in the correct facilities.
Leaving a battery in any device, however small, can be as hazardous as leaving a smouldering BBQ in the waste – another source of waste fires.
An impressive 73% of Brits do indeed know to correctly dispose of their gadgets in HWRCs, found YouGov’s research.
You can to your local council’s website or the Veolia websitefor the best way to recycle batteries.