UK Sees Alarming 71% Surge in Lithium-Ion Battery Fires

The UK has seen a 71% increase in fires caused by lithium-ion batteries in waste, resulting in over 1,200 fires in the past 12 months. The surge is attributed to the growing popularity of disposable vapes and portable battery-powered devices being carelessly discarded in household rubbish bins.

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UK Sees Alarming 71% Surge in Lithium-Ion Battery Fires

UK Sees Alarming 71% Surge in Lithium-Ion Battery Fires

The UK has witnessed a staggering 71% increase in fires caused by lithium-ion batteries in waste over the past 12 months, resulting in more than 1,200 fires. This alarming surge is attributed to the growing popularity of disposable vapes and other portable battery-powered devices, which are often carelessly discarded in household rubbish bins.

Why this matters: The rise in lithium-ion battery fires poses a significant threat to public safety and the environment, highlighting the need for improved waste management practices and greater awareness about responsible battery disposal. If left unchecked, this trend could lead to more devastating fires, air pollution, and harm to firefighters and waste officers.

Fire chiefs and recycling groups are sounding the alarm over this dangerous trend. Phil Clark, from the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC), warns that "fires involving the incorrect disposal of lithium-ion batteries are a disaster waiting to happen." Clark emphasizes that these incidents are preventable by correctly and carefully disposing of electricals.

Lithium-ion batteries, found in everyday items like wireless headphones, laptops, electric toothbrushes, and disposable vapes, can become crushed or damaged in bin lorries or waste sites if not recycled. This can lead to devastating fires at waste centers and in bin lorries across the UK. When damaged, these batteries can create their own oxygen, causing fires that are challenging to tackle and can reignite, prolonging incidents.

Scott Butler, executive director of Recycle Your Electricals, urges the public to consider the consequences of binning electricals and batteries. Butler stresses that these destructive and costly fires can be easily avoided by recycling. "With more and more products containing lithium-ion batteries, and battery fires on the rise, it's vital that we stop these fires and reduce the air pollution impact that they have on our local communities and the dangers they present to firefighters and waste officers," he says. Butler encourages individuals to search for their nearest drop-off point using the Recycle Your Electricals platform.

The statistics paint a grim picture: a 71% increase in fires caused by lithium-ion batteries in waste since 2022, with over 1,200 fires in the past 12 months compared to 700 fires in 2022. As the use of portable electronics continues to grow, it is crucial for the public to understand the importance of proper battery disposal and recycling to prevent these devastatingfiresfrom occurring.