Safe Battery Handling, Storage and Recycling is one of the most important, yet least discussed topics in the device repair industry. Some shops have extensive battery recycling processes while others have none. Call2Recycle and WISE Certification would like to remind all who repair how imperative it is to have a solid process for handling used batteries.
Since Call2Recycle’s inception they have responsibly collected and recycled over 130 million pounds of batteries in the United States. In 2019 alone, Call2Recycle collected over 2.5 million pounds of Lithium-Ion rechargeable batteries. While they are based in Atlanta, Call2Recycle has a network of thousands of public collection sites to safely dispose of used batteries. Keeping rechargeable batteries out of the general solid waste stream is Call2Recycle’s mission.
Last year Call2Recycle teamed up with WISE Certification to tackle this often-ignored part of the repair industry. Oftentimes, during repair, lithium-ion batteries in a device may be difficult to remove, especially when they are glued into the device. The external battery casing can tear or damage easily, exposing the battery terminals or causing the battery to bloat or swell, increasing the risk for a thermal event or fire. To minimize the risk, WISE Certification and Call2Recycle developed a repair program with a battery safety plan in place, including how to properly protect, store, and ship for responsible recycling.
Lithium-ion batteries can combust if punctured, bent, dented, or damaged. Basic best practices can minimize incidents with Li-Ion batteries. Once a battery has been safely removed from a device, they should be protected by insulating the terminals with non-conductive tape or, preferably, placing them in their own sealable plastic bag.
Once the Li-ion battery has been removed and placed in a protective container it should be stored in a cool, dry environment away from flammable material. Used or damaged batteries must be stored away from new batteries, near an ABC-type fire extinguisher. It is highly recommended to have a Li-ion battery containment device with sand available.
Damaged, defective, or recalled (DDR) lithium-ion batteries require special handling, which means they cannot be placed in standard recycling kits. Call2Recycle offers an extensive line of turnkey safety products to store, recycle and ship damaged batteries. Whether they are damaged or not, lithium-ion batteries should never be thrown in regular trash.
All service providers should source a recycle provider and adhere to their prescribed shipping procedures. The best practice is to find a recycler with appropriate certifications, including R2 Certification. A recycler may collect batteries for recycling, when in fact, they could end up overseas in underdeveloped countries, landfilled, or back on the market. Without third-party certification, a repair shop may not have the visibility or confidence that batteries are being responsibly recycled in accordance with best practices.
An R2-certified recycling partner, such as Call2Recycle, affirms that the companies’ performance meets or exceeds accredited, independent third-party audited standards. It provides repair shops with a peace of mind that batteries collected are documented and tracked throughout the process to ensure safe and responsible recycling at their end-of-life. Because of this, having an R2 Certified Battery Recycling partner is required for WISE Retail Certification.
Safety is a core tenet of the Call2Recycle program and is reflected in every aspect of its daily operations to the safety of the employees, collection sites, transporters, material recycling facilities, (MRFs), HHW facilities, sorters and processors involved in the used battery collection and recycling process. Its work to make battery collection and recycling as safe as possible is never complete. Call2Recycle is continually improving its safety policies and best practices to ensure people, property and the environment are protected. The program continually innovates on safe management and handling of batteries at end-of-life, especially those damaged or defective, or part of a recall.
WISE Certification has included guidance for handling lithium-ion batteries in its Retail and Technician Certification documents, which are in line with Call2Recycle’s recommendations. Additionally, WISE recommends Battery Safety Training for every technician handling batteries regardless of skill level. A technician’s ability to handle a thermal event is essential to the safety of themselves, the customer, device, and business.
For over 25 years, Call2Recycle has operated a best-in-class battery collection and recycling program. Its team of environmentally committed professionals are available at 877-723-1297 or firstname.lastname@example.org to assist in helping identify the best solutions to meet repair shop needs. Repair shops can also peruse the wide variety of battery management solutions and products by visiting www.call2recycle.org/services-solutions or its online store at www.call2recycle.org/store.