Lithium-ion batteries are used in a wide variety of the electronic devices that have become ubiquitous in today’s world, including cell phones, cameras, power tools and more. Once they reach the end of their useful life, the batteries must be properly disposed of or recycled; otherwise, they could be potentially hazardous to humans and/or the environment.
So, what do you need to know about recycling lithium-ion batteries when they’re no longer usable? Here’s an overview so you’ll be ready to dispose of your lithium-ion batteries in a responsible manner.
Lithium-ion batteries are made from materials like cobalt, graphite and lithium. When the batteries are sent to the trash, these critical resources are wasted. Should they become crushed in transport or from processing and sorting equipment, they could lead to a fire hazard, which is why you should avoid simply throwing them in the trash.
The steps you take with your batteries depend on the type of battery you’re dealing with.
Single-use, non-rechargeable batteries are commonly found in cameras, watches, remote controls and smoke detectors. They may come in specialized shapes, such as coins or button cells. There are also rechargeable lithium-polymer cells that are used for phones, power tools, laptops, various children’s toys, appliances and tablets. Sometimes these batteries are easily removable—other times not so much.
When it comes time to dispose of either type of battery, you should make sure you find a location that accepts these batteries or products containing them. Do not put them into municipal trash or recycling pickup bins; instead, take them directly to your local dump or hazardous waste collection service. There are also various electronics recycling services that may exist on their own or are attached to electronics retail services.
Send these batteries to the specialty recycler or to the electronics recycling location at your local dump. During disposal, each battery should be placed in a separate plastic bag. Use electrical tape over the terminals. If the battery is damaged, contact the manufacturer for specific information about how you should handle the battery and deal with it during transportation.
As a safety note, remember that even used batteries could still have enough energy to start a fire or cause injury. There is also the potential for battery explosion in some circumstances.
Remember: Lithium-ion batteries may be widespread and commonly used in everyday life with little thought or care given to them, but they are still considered hazardous materials. When it comes time to dispose of them, treat them as such so you can avoid placing yourself, anyone around you or the environment in unnecessary danger.
Interested in learning more about the steps you must take to properly dispose of lithium-ion batteries at the end of their usable life? Contact our experienced team at Remis Power Systems Inc. with any questions you have, and we will be happy to address any specific issues that exist with the type of battery you need to get rid of. We look forward to working with you.
Categorised in: Battery Recycling and Disposal
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