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HomeTech & GadgetsTrashed lithium-ion batteries caused three garbage truck fires in California

Trashed lithium-ion batteries caused three garbage truck fires in California


Lithium ion battery in a press to demonstrate their fire-causing potential
Enlarge / A security seminar on lithium-ion batteries from Might 2022 illustrates what occurs if you topic charged batteries to strain or puncture—or each.

Getty Pictures

A agency that handles returned Amazon electronics has agreed to pay a $25,000 high quality after lithium-ion batteries it threw away brought about a minimum of three completely different rubbish truck fires.

iDiskk, LLC, based mostly in San Jose, California, agreed to a settlement with the district lawyer of Santa Clara County in late November over civil expenses relating to improper waste disposal, as famous by E-Scrap News. The corporate, according to the district attorney’s office, “dismantles, recycles, and disposes of client laptop electronics which can be returned by means of Amazon, a few of which comprise lithium-ion batteries.”

On three completely different dates in 2021—September 22, October 6, and October 13—vehicles picked up residential waste from iDiskk’s workplace handle in Campbell, California. A Google Road View have a look at the handle reveals a house with a driveway and storage on a tree-lined road. Dozens of lithium-ion batteries have been included with typical recycling supplies, permitting them to be crushed and compressed with different waste. “In every case, the … rubbish truck driver ejected the truck’s load,” the initial complaint reads, and the trigger was discovered to be batteries.

Though no person was harm within the fires, the October 13 hearth, whereas being dumped into the road to keep away from a automobile hearth, brought about the raised bin to catch on overhead utility strains. The hooked up utility pole broke and fell to the bottom. “These fires are extremely harmful to the protection of the rubbish truck drivers and first responders who should then act rapidly to take care of the hearth,” stated Deputy District Legal professional Christopher Choose in a press launch after the settlement.

Lithium-ion batteries do not simply trigger fires once they’re punctured or crushed—they’re going to maintain beginning that fireplace, time and again.

Whereas this case entails the homeowners of an e-waste enterprise that (by legislation) ought to have identified higher than to toss batteries into customary recycling, batteries proceed to be the main reason behind fires within the waste stream. A 2018 survey of recycling amenities by the California Product Safety Council discovered that 83 % of 26 amenities had a hearth within the two years prior, and 65 % of them have been attributable to batteries. A study in MDPI by Austrian professors discovered that, amid elevated numbers of fires and vital potential for harm, “No different substance or materials has ever comparably endangered the entire waste trade” as discarded moveable batteries.

In fact, some batteries find yourself in trash and recycling as a result of there’s nowhere higher to take them. In lots of elements of the nation, a Greatest Purchase or Walmart that can take used electronics is the most suitable choice residents might have. In any other case, the perfect choices embrace searching down a correct facility, hoarding them till your native politician hosts a hazardous waste occasion, or simply stashing them away indefinitely (the place a minimum of they’re going to slowly lose cost).

Scientists have urged options to creating lithium-ion batteries much less fire-prone. Stanford College researchers urged in 2017 utilizing built-in flame retardants as an anode/cathode separator, which might launch when issues get scorching. Powdered silica in the electrolyte mix was proposed by Oak Ridge Nationwide Laboratory in 2018. Neither enchancment, clearly, has gone mainstream.



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