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 Post subject: Lithium Ion Batteries
PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2022 10:53 am 
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As many have noticed we are no longer paying for Li-Ion batteries.

Recent changes to transportation requirements coupled with their inherent unsafe nature has led to our decision to no longer purchase Lithium Ion batteries in any form.

Our margins on batteries have always been small and we mainly purchased them as a convenience to our customers. Our costs are now to a point where we can no longer afford to handle them. Without going into the logistics of shipping large amounts of batteries, it is far more costly than regular scrap especially when you take into consideration the special containers that we are now required to use. Even the plastic liner in the container is special. It then must be declared as hazardous. The costs add up quick.

Batteries also have a limited shelf life as far as swelling goes. A swollen battery is a dangerous battery and we get charged by our vendor to dispose of them. As we accumulate batteries in order to sell them in bulk (that is the scrap game) we ultimately lose batteries (and ultimately money) while they are in storage due to swelling, breakage.....and FIRE.

Yes. A far more serious factor that went into our decision is safety. About 10 years ago we had a fairly serious explosion/fire in one of our warehouses when a 5 gallon bucket of Lithium batteries detonated on their own. Several untaped battery leads were touching one another and ultimately we had an indoor fireworks show. I joke about the fireworks but it was no laughing matter at the time. Fortunately there were only a few minor injuries and we managed to extinguish the dozen or so smoldering fires spread through-out the warehouse by the flaming projectiles of screaming molten lithium in spite of the fact we were unable to see nor hear from the ringing in our ears and fire alarms and the solid (and I mean solid) lithium smoke, but the flames were bright enough to lead the way.

And now recently within the last few months we had another incident, this time with a tub of "TAPED" cell phone batteries. The tub was sitting there, nothing special about them or the situation. A coworker happened to look over at the tub and saw smoke coming from inside the tub and risked his safety to drag the heavy tub outdoors where it would be dumped and dealt with. Sure enough, inside the middle of the pile a taped battery had begun to smolder. Had that happened at night, we would have lost one of our buildings. Or worse.

But we still continued purchasing them, with plans to ultimately obtain a steel cargo shipping container for the rear of our yard and use it exclusively for batteries.

Then the above mentioned changes in our shipping and handling requirements happened and that was enough. Far too dangerous and much too costly. We are a gold, silver and copper recovery company, not a hazardous material handler.

Having said that. We will still continue to accept laptop batteries that are still inserted into their original laptop. No tape needed. We will continue to buy laptops with their respective batteries installed, no problem.

For those of who I have had conversations about batteries over the years will know I have always cautioned against collecting batteries as I knew this day was coming where batteries become a liability to both safety and profit, and safety first!

PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2022 3:44 pm 
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I have been on this site for over 7 years and have sounded grave warnings about proper handling of lithium materials since the beginning.
Years ago an unlikely runaway reaction in a dry cell lithium battery smaller than a watch battery caused a small but powerful explosion. Leaving a charred crater in my workbench, knocked nearly every item off my vertical peg board, and rocked me off my feet into the shelving behind me.

Lithium is a powerful metal. One that deserves both respect and awe.
It can ignate into a powerful flame of 2000 degrees in a near vacuum. It contains the same energy power in one ounce as hundreds of alkaline D batteries. In ideal conditions is lithium battery can be recharged infinitely.

Lithium is also extremely reactive. It is one of the few metals that will have some form of chemical or physical reaction with every other element on the table.
The average lithium battery fire burns at 3200 degrees Fahrenheit! but depending on other materials in a package can reach over 10,000 degrees.

Lithium is used in every aspect of our lives. From a life saving medicine to powering nearly any electronic device to atomic bombs to increase radiation dispersal.

This is not to say lithium is unsafe. Modern technology and building methods have made it nearly dependable, and completely predictable.

In the age of green finding someone who will accept them is rather easy. Just search lithium recycling followed by your zip code.

We listen, we watch, we learn, and we move on.

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