More and more electrical and electronic products in everyday life contain batteries, making life more convenient
or pleasant. However, those same batteries, when damaged, also increasingly cause these products to catch
fires. In the past few months, organisations representative of the industry that manages the collection and treatment
of spent batteries and electronic waste (WEEE) and of manufacturers of home appliances and consumer
electronics gathered to exchange views about this issue of growing concern in order to design measures to
counter the frequent occurrence of fires.
A survey among recyclers resulted in a better understanding of the issue of fires in the WEEE management chain. The report, “Characterisation of fires caused by batteries in WEEE”, has been prepared by EuRIC and the WEEE Forum with the active contribution of experts from various organisations including the co-signatories namely EERA, EUCOBAT, Municipal Waste Europe and the WEEELABEX Organisation. It seeks to jointly assess the severity of the issue. The survey shows that the number of fires in the WEEE management chain is going up and that the fires mainly occur in mixed WEEE. Damaged batteries are seen as responsible for those fires.The most severe fires identified by respondents were mostly described as intense fires and lasting between 1 to 6 hours. More than a third of the respondents reports one of those severe fires. The report roughly estimates the average costs associated to most frequent fires in 190.000 €, and 1.3 M€ for most severe fires.The report includes a set of recommendations to further investigate some aspects that were addressed in the survey, but for which an in-depth analysis is key to have a better grasp of the issue. This includes for instance consequences for the reuse sector, the efficiency of the rules concerning the international carriage of dangerous goods by road (ADR), or the detailed cost breakdown of damages caused by battery fires. A follow-up report will analyse best practices to tackle fires associated with batteries.
Link to the report:
Link to the press release:
It was EERA would did already a first study related to fires caused by batteries in WEEE. The press release of 2019 can be found here: Characterisation of fires caused by batteries in WEEE