(WHTM) – Lithium batteries are the rechargeable batteries that power our lives. They are everywhere, but when not recycled properly, bad things can occur.
“We did have a significant fire at our recycling facility,” the regional marketing and customer experience manager at Penn Waste in York Amanda Mole said.
The fire ignited from a rechargeable battering, causing Penn Waste to burn in May of 2022 and be shut down for a year. The safety concerns aren’t only for the workers at the recycling plants.
“There’s also consumer risk. It’s not just a safety issue for the waste and recycling industry and the first responders. It’s an increasing risk to consumers as well,” the spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Waste Industry Association Tracy Pawelski said.
The increased use of lithium batteries has led to more fires for Penn Waste according to Moley.
“We continue to have them all the time,” Moley said. “We actually just had a fire last week that was caused by a rechargeable battery.”
Moley says post-pandemic the company is seeing multiple fires a month from batteries at the recycling facility and waste trucks. It makes coming to work not ideal.
“It’s scary, yes,” Moley said.
Pawelski says the Pennsylvania Waste Industry Association is looking for a uniform policy at the state level to help out with the proper recycling of lithium batteries. So what’s the best way you can discard lithium batteries safely?
“The best option for consumers today is to locate a drop-off location convenient to them,” said Pawelski.
Click here to find a battery-recycling location near you.