Warning - Lithium-Ion Batteries Pose Harmful Threat when Mixed with Lead-Acid Scrap

The Dangers of Lithium-Ion Batteries Being Mixed with Lead-Acid Scrap/Recycled Batteries

This is an URGENT warning initiated by Battery Council International (BCI) regarding Lithium-Ion batteries mixed in with scrap/recycled lead-acid batteries. 

There is a considerable increase in consumer grade 12-volt lithium batteries in powersport and automotive sizes making their way into the feedstock with lead-acid batteries.  These Lithium batteries pose serious safety concerns during the recycle process from both a transportation and breakdown standpoint. We need to be very aware of this in all areas of scrap recovery as the chance of fire or explosion when mixing them with lead-acid is real and dangerous!

This should be brought to the immediate attention of our customers, route drivers, and warehouse personnel who are handling scrap. Lithium batteries, properly tagged, will not have any “Pb” designation and should indicate they contain Lithium although they may not always be tagged properly. 

For those handling the batteries, there will be a noticeable difference in weight between Lithium batteries and like-size lead-acid batteries. Lithium batteries should be less than ½ that of lead-acid. A greater challenge will be when we receive skids of scrap that are already stacked and wrapped, for this reason we should also have this conversation with customers regarding the concern of lithium batteries being mixed with lead-acid.

If there is any doubt about what type of battery it is, simply set it aside and ask for help with identification.  If you do come across a Lithium-Ion battery, or any other non-lead-acid battery type, they can be recycled through programs like Call2Recycle.

It is possible that as this problem continues to grow, the smelters may take steps to hold the shippers liable and responsible for damage or injuries incurred from fire or explosions caused by these lithium batteries. With Canadian Energy being a leader in the Canadian marketplace we want to take immediate steps to ensure our scrap battery shipments are Lithium-free.

This video illustrates the dangers Lithium batteries pose to workers when they mix with lead-acid scrap.

The original warning notice from BCI is accessible here.

If you have any questions or concerns, don't hesitate to contact your local Canadian Energy branch by calling 1888 AMP HOUR (237-4687) or through our contact us page.