More and more electrical and electronic products in everyday life contain batteries, making life more convenient and pleasant. However, those same batteries, when damaged, also increasingly cause fires.
In 2019, a number of organisations representative of the industry that manages the collection and treatment of spent batteries and waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) and manufacturers of home appliances and consumer electronics, gathered to exchange views about the growing issue of fires associated with WEEE that contain batteries in order to design measures to address the problem. This group of organisations form the Batteries Roundtable and meet regularly to discuss and engage in new activities addressing this issue of fires caused by batteries.
In the context of the roundtable, in 2019, a survey was designed at European scale to better understand the issue of fires in the WEEE management chain and collect good practices. Arising from this survey, a first report “Characterisation of fires caused by batteries in WEEE” was prepared by EuRIC (European Recycling Industries Confederation) and the WEEE Forum in 2020, presenting the results of the first part of the survey, and attempting to better characterize fires associated with WEEE containing batteries and to assess the severity of the issue.
A second complementary report on “Recommendations for tackling fires caused by lithium batteries in WEEE” was released in 2021 by the WEEE Forum and EuRIC with the active contribution of experts from various organisations, including the co-signatories EERA (European Electronics Recyclers Association), EUCOBAT, Municipal Waste Europe and the WEEELABEX Organisation. The report presents a set of recommendations and good practices aimed at countering the occurrence of fire incidents caused by lithium batteries and WEEE containing lithium batteries.