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Cell Phone and Batteries thrown in the Trash are Exploding

Initiating 5-alarm fires in Garbage Trucks

Batteries thrown in the trash are exploding, initiating 5-alarm fires in garbage trucks

Another danger is looming over us- this time by the discarded cell phones. The batteries especially Lithium –Ion batteries of the smartphones, tablets and even electrical tools are posing problems after dumping.

It is better for you to discard the habit of throwing the Li-ion button cells and other rechargeable batteries to the dump yard or recycling bins. A claustrophobe is in the making. Last year alone California witnessed 65% of dump yards triggered by discarded lithium-ion batteries. And one fire kindles a chain reaction of fires and in turn devastating explosions.

Batteries thrown in the trash

It is not only in California. In New York, a carelessly discarded Lithium-ion battery caused a five-alarm fire at a recycling facility in March.  The awareness campaign is launched in this regard in California is a good start.

That happened in Indianapolis recycling plant also recently. The Lithium-ion batteries are commonly used in

  • Cell phones,
  • Laptop
  • Computers,
  • Cameras
  • Rechargeable power tools and
  • Electric scooters

 Also, the power behind electric cars like Teslas and Chevy Bolts is none other than Li-Ion. The culprit behind the notorious Samsung Galaxy Note 7 fires is also same,

And the statistics are alarming- in 2017 alone, 175 million pounds of lithium-ion batteries were sold into the U.S. market. The power-packed lithium-ion batteries are small and light making it highly suitable for making gadgets handy,

When the terminal of the battery touch something metallic, like the side of a garbage truck, that creates spark and in turn fires

battery touch something metallic

Solutions

  • Keep batteries on small bag above the garbage bag as tried in SFO
  • You can put them in a closed plastic bag so that the battery can’t come into contact with metal.
  • Cover the terminals before discarding
  • Choose alkaline batteries instead

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