Lithium-Ion battery

Help Prevent Shredding & Recycling Facility Fires by Safely Disposing of All Batteries

The Dangers of Lithium-Ion Batteries

Lithium batteries, or any items containing batteries, should never be disposed of in any of Royal Document Destruction’s paper shredding containers, bins, or cabinets. In fact, batteries should never be placed in any recycling, shredding or trash bin, as this presents a dangerous fire hazard for all of the paper shredding, recycling and trash businesses who handle waste.

A high number of facility fires in 2022 has prompted a renewed look at battery recycling efforts, and better ways to educate the public on the risks associated with improper battery disposal. It has been reported 390 large waste and recycling facility fires in the U.S. and Canada in 2022, which is the highest number of fires since they have started tracking reports. These fires caused 56 reported injuries and 2 reported deaths. Batteries are also to blame for countless smaller, contained fires and near miss situations in paper shredding and recycling facilities. These contained fires were actually too many to count. Royal Document Destruction has had several close calls due to improper battery disposal, and we need our customers to pay attention and understand how important proper shredding practices are for the safety of our employees and business.

Employees and residents in Columbus and Cincinnati, Ohio need to understand the danger of placing lithium batteries, or battery-containing items, in Royal Document Destruction’s paper shredding containers. In fact, recently, a laptop caught fire inside a Rumpke Waste & Recycling truck in Columbus, Ohio, forcing the driver to make an emergency stop and unload the material. This could have been catastrophic had it reached their facility and caught fire then.

Biggest Fire Hazard for Paper Shredding Businesses

Paper shredding companies throughout the country recognize that lithium-ion batteries are a growing fire hazard because of their tendency to ignite when crushed or bent. The increasing use of these batteries in popular merchandise means public education and training for proper battery disposal is a must.

Remember, if the item has a battery in it, even a simple greeting card, the battery must be properly removed and recycled safely at a battery store, and NEVER placed in your shredding container or recycling bin. This is the very best way to prevent a serious fire.

Why should lithium batteries be separated? These batteries hold a considerable charge even when they no longer provide enough energy to power the device. If the battery is damaged, they can spark or heat up and cause a fire. This becomes a very dangerous situation quickly.

Think Before Discarding Batteries or Items with Batteries

A small but important task each person can do to achieve better fire safety, is to collect all batteries in a safe place and then take those batteries to a nearby hazardous waste disposal facility or to a local Battery and Bulb or similar retailer that offers recycling options.

Remember, a significant number of paper shredding and recycling facility fires are related to batteries. A battery, or electronic devices that contain a battery, that is disposed of in any type of paper shredding, recycling or trash bin – whether at work or at home- creates a very real fire hazard and deadly situation for paper shredding facilities like Royal Document Destruction.

To Summarize:

    • Batteries are a huge fire risk when over-charged, short-circuited, submerged in water, bent or damaged. That means that batteries should be removed from all paper and product, before shredding or recycling the item. (This includes greeting cards.)
    • Batteries, especially powerful lithium-ion batteries found in many electronics, cause fires. They must be disposed of properly. Every time.
    • It only takes one lithium-ion battery mistakenly put in a paper shredding container to cause a huge fire and put our Columbus and Cincinnati workers and fire crews at risk.
    • Learn what your company’s policy is for the proper disposal of batteries used at the office, and make sure only paper is put in the shredding containers.
    • To do best for the environment, take batteries to a retail battery recycler, or a community household hazardous waste collection site. There may be a small fee, but it is a small price to pay to keep workers safe.
    • If you’re unable to remove a battery from the device it powers, take the whole device to an electronics store, battery store, or a household hazardous waste collection site for disposal.
    • To prevent fires from lithium-ion batteries, tape battery terminals and/or place batteries in separate plastic bags and never put these batteries in Royal Document Destruction’s shredding containers, or household garbage or recycling bins.

Please remember to always keep all batteries out of Royal Document Destruction’s paper shredding containers and bins. It is critical to understand the importance of using proper battery disposal every time.

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