Batteries are hazardous waste

The bvse informs medium-sized businesses about waste, secondary raw materials, recycling and disposal.

Lithium batteries in residual waste are the cause of dangerous fires

Incorrectly disposed of lithium batteries are the main cause of numerous fires in waste treatment plants.

This is confirmed by data from the BatSAFE research project at the Leoben Mining University. In Austria alone, around 700,000 lithium batteries end up in the residual waste instead of in the designated collection points. By 2025, their number could rise to three million - and thus cause even more fires.

The waste disposal companies are sounding the alarm and calling for significantly higher collection rates to prevent further fires. "Lithium batteries in residual waste are a catastrophe for us," says Hans Roth, President of the Association of Austrian Waste Management Companies (VOEB), summarizing the problem. “For our member companies, apart from a financial disaster, the fires are also an enormous safety issue, because people work there who expose themselves to great danger on a daily basis. This can not go on like this anymore."

Increasing use of lithium batteries

You can find them in cell phones, laptops, e-bikes, cordless drills, drones and flashing children's shoes: powerful lithium batteries are everywhere, and their use is increasing massively. Tiny damage is enough to significantly increase your fire risk - not only for waste disposal companies, but also in retail and private households. Reports in newspapers about it have been increasing for years, across Europe.

The University of Leoben has now confirmed in a current study that the majority of fires in waste treatment plants can be traced back to lithium batteries. Prof. Roland Pomberger, head of the BatSAFE project: "We have been researching the causes of fires in waste management for years and have come to a clear conclusion: lithium batteries in residual waste are the main cause of these dangerous fires."

A solution to the problem can only be found together with all those involved. This includes the manufacturing companies, the population and waste disposal companies.

Inform safe lithium batteries and consumers

According to a conclusion from the research project, manufacturers must work to make lithium batteries safer. Not desirable, but possibly the last resort would be a deposit solution, according to the VOEB in its press release. As a first step, however, consumers must be fully informed about where lithium batteries are and how they can be disposed of correctly. Namely only in the municipal collection points provided for this purpose or in shops that sell batteries and accumulators - free of charge.

Category: News -