Illustration of household battery catching on fire.

There is a growing clarion call of concern surrounding the dangers posed by lithium-ion batteries, which are used to recharge just about everything in our modern world. Lithium-ion batteries are rechargeable batteries that power everything from household electronic devices like cell phones, laptops, e-bikes, e-cigarettes, electronic toothbrushes, and remote controls to the batteries used in electric vehicles and even children’s toys.

“Unfortunately, the improper disposal of rechargeable batteries is leading to dangerous fires that threaten the safety of recycling workers, emergency first responders, and the public at large,” said Tim O’Donnell, president of the Pennsylvania Waste Industries Association (PWIA). “Lithium-ion batteries are causing fires on trucks, burning down recycling facilities, and starting fires on planes too.”

Despite the escalation in fires and national media coverage, there is a dangerous lack of public awareness related to the risks these batteries pose, especially when they are at the end of their useful life and need to be discarded. 

PPO&S has been called on to help PWIA raise awareness among its own members of the industry, first responders, and the general public about the safe disposal of lithium-ion batteries. We are also helping the industry tackle long-term public policy solutions that ensure a convenient, safe and environmentally-sound battery stewardship program for the safe disposal of these batteries.