Landfills can explode

Exploding batteries - problem in landfills and recycling centers

Battery fire in an Ecomain system. (Image source: YouTube video)

As is well known, rechargeable batteries and batteries do not belong in the household waste, but must be disposed of separately. This is the only way to ensure that the valuable raw materials can be recycled to a certain extent.

But apparently more and more owners of electronic devices such as smartphones, laptops or cordless tools such as drills are simply throwing old lithium-ion batteries into the household waste - at least in the USA. As the USA Today website reports, the manufacturers of the batteries there are now asking not to carelessly throw them away.

Batteries cause fires and explosions

In household rubbish or in recycling bins that are not intended for it, the batteries can catch fire or explode and then start fires. According to the article, lithium-ion batteries alone were responsible for 65 percent of all fires in waste disposal facilities in California. A particular danger here is that a fire could damage other batteries and these not only burn but also explode, according to the head of a recycling company.

In March 2018, an improperly disposed of battery caused a fire in a recycling facility in Queens, New York, which lasted for two days and which caused four stretches of the Long Island Rail Road to be closed due to heavy smoke. Also in March, a similar fire in Indianapolis caused the closure of a recycling company.

Garbage collection becomes dangerous

Garbage disposal workers are also at risk, as an explosion in a New York City garbage truck shows. The explosion was triggered when the pressure compacted the garbage and contained a battery. Many consumers are also unaware that batteries cannot simply be thrown into a recycling bin in the hope that someone will then recycle the battery correctly. In Germany, according to the Battery Act, batteries must be taken back by all dealers who sell batteries themselves.

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