Jansen Recycling Group (JRG) to introduce penalties for batteries in scrap metal!
More and more of today’s products contain lithium-ion batteries. They include the electric bicycles and cars that are steadily becoming part of the streetscape. According to executive organisation for circular manufacturing Circulaire Maakindustrie, eleven million tonnes of lithium batteries are expected to reach the end of their life by 2030, after which they can no longer be used. To give an impression of the magnitude: 11 million tonnes of batteries would fill 366,666 lorry trailers.
Many of them end up as bulk waste or scrap metal, but they are supposed to be separated from the product that contains them. Not enough information is provided about separation and what this means. What happens when this type of battery ends up at a metal recycler because it was not separated from its product?
If it goes undetected and is treated as “ordinary” scrap, it can cause an explosion and a massive fire. These sorts of fires are difficult to extinguish, and harmful gases are released in the smoke. Nearby residents and infrastructure are hindered by the smoke and the time it takes to put out the fire. Dozens of these fires break out each year in the Netherlands, yet they could be prevented by separating the batteries. The number of fires is set to increase as more and more products powered by lithium batteries come onto the market.
JRG takes measures against batteries
JRG has taken the following measures to reduce the risk of fire.
The acceptance conditions for batteries have been made stricter. We will now impose a penalty on suppliers if even just one battery is found in their shipments. This stricter policy is intended to make our suppliers more alert.
There are also strict guidelines for the safety of our on-site workers. Any batteries found are immediately set aside in a special sealed container equipped with a fire detector and automatic extinguishing system. But the best way to prevent a fire is to deliver the scrap without these dangerous batteries.
A task for the government
The first step is to raise awareness among consumers or users. They need to know what happens if they fail to separate batteries. The following solutions have already been suggested by various sector organisations:
- Improve the supply of information
- Batteries must be easy to remove from a product
- Introduce a new deposit policy for batteries
These measures are in the hands of the government. It is their duty to raise awareness among consumers or users and come up with solutions for recycling batteries. The clock is ticking, and more and more products with lithium batteries are being developed.