Batteries are something very commonplace in devices we use on a day to day basis. Unfortunately, we often to forget that these helpful cylinders can be very volatile given the wrong circumstances. It’s important to keep that in mind when recycling your devices, as the risk is recognized by the EPA and the DOT:
Because they can be so volatile, lithium battery transport is regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), through its Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).
“Improperly packaged lithium batteries present a significant risk of a serious incident and the release of stored energy,” Neal Suchak, part of the organization’s Hazmat Safety Assistance Team, said during his presentation on the webinar. “Thermal runaway can lead to self-heating and the release of that stored energy, and the result is fire, explosion and a release of flammable gases.” Colin Staub
So what can we do to handle them correctly?
STEP 1: Identify what might contain batteries.
- Take a close look at the material you plan to recycle, does it contain batteries?
- Do not remove the battery, list the item as containing batteries.
STEP 2: Notify the Techs.
- Provide a final inventory with the battery count included prior to pickup.
- With the technicians arrival on-site, notify them of the existence of the batteries.
STEP 3: Let The Techs Handle It.
- The Technicians from BTTF are trained on how to successfully remove and process batteries without risking explosions.
- Once the batteries have been identified (primarily being either in a cell phone or a small electronic) the techs will remove the battery from the unit before proceeding with the destruction.