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Organisations unite to counter lithium-ion battery fires in discarded electronic equipment

Fri, 07/16/2021 - 09:30 -- Paul Crompton
waste batteries from electronic waste

European organisations have teamed up to deliver a report that sets out methods for countering fires caused by spent batteries and electronic waste.

Organisations representing the collection and treatment of spent batteries from waste from electrical and electronic waste (WEEE) delivered the report.

The document ‘Recommendations for tackling fires caused by lithium batteries in WEEE’ compiles a set of recommendations and good practices aimed at countering the occurrence of fire incidents caused by lithium batteries and WEEE containing lithium batteries.

The report was prepared by the WEEE Forum and EuRIC with contributions from various organisations including the co-signatories EERA, EUCOBAT, Municipal Waste Europe and the WEEELABEX Organisation. 

WEEE Forum said: “The report concludes that there is not a magic formula that will eradicate the risk of fires caused by WEEE containing batteries.

“It is imperative that actions are taken urgently in all steps of the lifecycles of EEE and lithium batteries and by all actors in the value chain: from design to disposal of WEEE and batteries including the consideration of transport and treatment. For this, further work to assess the extent of the issue and potential solutions is required’’.

The report comprises recommendations and good practices addressed to the main participants in the steps of the electronic and electrical equipment (EEE) and WEEE value chain and includes recommendations to producer responsibility organisations of EEE and batteries, to local authorities, and policy makers.

EuRIC said: “The European Green Deal and the new Circular Economy Action Plan identify ‘electronics’ among key product value chains where recycling plays a major role in achieving sustainability goals. 

“Battery fires are a genuine challenge for the recycling industry and the entire value chain. Properly addressing the risk of fires caused by WEEE containing lithium batteries through a multi-stakeholder approach is essential to support electronics’ recyclers which play an essential role in the achievement of the EU’s overarching sustainability goals.”

Read and download the report here

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