Battery fires have become a common occurrence over the years and are becoming more frequent. Due to its rechargeable nature, lithium is a popular metal used in the majority of electronics today. However, as convenient as lithium is, lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) are hazardous when damaged. A recent fire has trash pickup service, Rumpke, asking Ohio residents to dispose of their electronics containing LIBs properly.
Last week, Columbus Division Fire responded to a report of a garbage truck fire near an apartment complex on the east side of the city. The truck driver drove the truck out of the apartment complex and pulled into a gas station to dump the burning load of trash. The fire was extinguished quickly, but the fire’s source raised concerns regarding how residents dispose of their electronics.
A laptop was reported as the source of the ignition, specifically a damaged battery, after being thrown away with municipal waste. Almost all electronics today contain these sensitive batteries, and proper disposal could prevent more incidents like this. Unfortunately, many consumers do not realize that municipal waste undergoes a rigorous disposal process and often damages materials thrown out, including electronics. The problem is when LIBs are punctured they will combust and cause chemical fires.
LIBs are sensitive to damage in several ways. If crushed in the garbage truck’s compression system, they can release flammable gasses that can spark a chemical fire. If they are punctured, a thermal runaway can occur, also causing a fire. They can also overheat and swell, which eventually leads to combustion. For this reason, it’s crucial that all electronics are disposed of properly.
LIB fires are more difficult to extinguish than regular fires due to their chemical composition and can even re-ignite after being extinguished. At ITAD facilities like HOBI, LIBs are handled by trained professionals who take safety precautions to reduce any chance of fire risk.
ITAD facilities collect retired IT assets, such as used electronics, and ensure they are disposed of properly. HOBI provides data erasure services guaranteeing no data is leaked before recycling each device. Any device that cannot be erased is destroyed via shredding technology.
For more information about our TIAD services, call 817-814-2620, or contact HOBI at email@example.com.