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NWRA Offers Recommendations to Strengthen Proposed California Lithium Battery Recycling Bill

Getty Images Lithium-ion Batteries

Arlington, VA – The National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) sent comments to California state Sen. Josh Newman (D-29), sponsor of Senate Bill 289, legislation that would establish a program to manage the disposal of lithium-ion batteries. Among its recommendations, NWRA suggested materials recovery facility (MRF) and traditional scrap yards should not be recognized as “recyclers” as defined in the bill because they do not recycle lithium-ion batteries.

“Our goal is to lower the risk of fires caused from lithium-ion batteries,” said Darrell Smith, NWRA president and CEO. “We appreciate Sen. Newman’s leadership on this issue. We believe our recommendations will help recycling facilities that are experiencing fires caused by these batteries.”

Consumers often lack awareness of this threat and do not know how to manage lithium-ion batteries correctly when ready to dispose of them. In its comments, NWRA also recommended expanding the education component to include all stakeholders on the safety issues surrounding batteries and battery collection. NWRA noted that curbside collection is a safety issue and recommended California consider other options.

Fires at waste and recycling facilities continue to rise due in part to the increased popularity of lithium-ion batteries in consumer products. When these batteries are disposed of improperly, they can unknowingly catch fire and sometimes explode, causing injuries to workers and equipment and potentially destroying an entire MRF.

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