A new film shows the serious dangers of lithium battery fires at recycling centres.
The video reveals frightening incidents where batteries have exploded inside the centres, sometimes when shocked staff are actually sorting them out.
It’s the latest way fire services are trying to get across the message that ANYTHING which contains a lithium battery should NEVER be thrown into household waste.
It should instead be taken to the nearest council recycling centre or local electricals collection points. To find your nearest one simply go to https://www.recycleyourelectricals.org.uk/ and pop your postcode in the box.
The new film called Stop Battery Fires has been created by pressure group Material Focus - a not-for-profit organisation whose goal is to stop people dangerously discarding their old electricals – and the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC).
Material Focus now wants local authorities to take part in the 2023 Stop Battery Fires Survey that will assess the scale and impact of battery fires across the UK after a similar survey last year discovered more than 700 battery fires in the waste and recycling system. Some blazes even broke out in bin lorries.
NFCC waste fires lead Mark Andrews said: “Fire and rescue services see first-hand the impact of fires caused by the incorrect disposal of batteries and electrical items. We need householders to play their part in reducing these fires which can have a devastating impact on local communities and their environment. They can pose a real risk to staff working in the waste and recycling centres.”
Pioneering Yorkshire company Environmental Defence Systems Ltd already provides AvSax lithium battery fire protection bags on thousands of planes worldwide and is now looking to use the technology to make working in recycling centre safer for employees.
The AvSax is an award-winning fire containment bag designed to deal with incidents caused by lithium-ion batteries in small electronic devices such as mobile phones, laptops, iPads, vapes and e-cigarettes on board planes. Passengers bring hundreds of these devices onto every flight and sometimes they do overheat and catch fire.
AvSax are now on more than 16,750 aircraft operated by over 100 airline companies worldwide. They have been used at least 33 times to deal with emergencies since the start of 2017.
This is why most airlines now include a warning about the danger of lithium batteries in their pre-flight safety briefings.
AvSax won the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise (Innovation) in the UK in 2018 which is the highest award any business can achieve.
There have been 446 incidents reported in US airspace from March 2006 to May 2023 – 24 recorded so far in 2023 alone - but figures for the rest of the world and UK airspace are not made public so many more will be happening but we just don’t know about them.
Damaged or faulty batteries can go into what’s known as thermal runaway. This happens when one cell in a battery overheats it can produce enough heat – up to 900°C (1652°F) – to cause adjacent cells to overheat. This can cause a lithium battery fire to flare repeatedly and, because they burn at such a high temperature, they are very difficult to put out.
One of the main dangers happens when a mobile phone is lost in a seat and the passenger then moves it to try to find the phone but crushes it and damages the battery, sending it into thermal runaway.
And this is exactly what happens when the batteries get crushed in waste disposal sites and recycling centre too.