We came across a post on The Spinoff website and decided to share it here. The author is concerned that piles of spent lithium batteries could become an even bigger problem than the used auto tires littering North America. Burning tires is bad enough because it releases significant amounts of human cancer-causing carcinogens. And it leaves small particles of dust or soot in the atmosphere for long periods afterwards.
Move over Tires: Piles of Spent Lithium Batteries Are Worse
The Spinoff’s sustainability advisor, Juhi Shareef thinks piles of spent lithium batteries will soon start competing for the title. She says so because they are everywhere we go, and are currently the solution for the hordes of electric cars pouring off Asian production lines.
The problem is recycling lithium batteries is a headache few people want to tackle commercially. They prefer to keep on making them, and then leave the problem for towns and cities to resolve. Could the time come when old lithium batteries join the list of top ten things we wish we had never done? In a nut shell, recycling piles of spent lithium batteries can be a risky business.
There Has However Been Some Progress
Lithium Batteries Are Dangerous When Handled Carelessly
Used lithium batteries still contain relatively large amounts of charge. While this is insufficient for sensitive electronic devices, there is still enough energy left over to cause a fire.
Individual lithium batteries can explode if something punctures or crushes them. This can cause a chain reaction rapidly spreading to others nearby. We have published several posts of garbage trucks catching fire, and spewing noxious fumes.
There are signs of some North American agents dumping piles of spent lithium batteries in third-world African countries for recycling there. We have no idea how they would go about loading them safely on ships. We hope this is not another case of doing things first, and leaving the problems to solve later. What should happen when electric car batteries are no longer suitable for re-purposing?
Preview Image: Pile of Old Tires
Video Share Link: https://youtu.be/YnWQjotUz5s