In the previous blog, we discussed the hazards associated with lithium batteries and how they can cause of fire. Now that we know the causes, we will discuss how to use, store and dispose of them to prevent them from becoming a fire hazard.
Prevention starts with proper installation and use of your batteries. When replacing the batteries on your remote, make sure you use the same types of batteries (alkaline, lithium, etc.). You should also avoid using old batteries with new ones and rechargeable batteries with non-rechargeable ones. Before installing them, make sure your batteries are in good condition. For rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, make sure they are at room temperature before attempting to charge them and avoid temperature below freezing. When charging, avoid soft surfaces that trap heat and cause your appliances to overheat.
Regarding storage, whether for a new pack of batteries or for your old batteries that need to be disposed, storage should be the same at the beginning and at the end of their life. Always store your batteries in a cool, dark place away from chemicals. Never store them in your freezer. Avoid contact between the terminals of your batteries and metal objects (coins, keys, paper clips, etc.). The best way to avoid these unwanted contacts is to either keep your batteries in their original packaging or put tape on their terminals. You should also remove batteries from your devices that will not be used for an extended period.
When you need to get rid of your batteries, never put them in your household garbage or recycling bins. For safe disposal, take them to your Ecocentre or another collection point. Take the time to tape the terminals and use a plastic or cardboard container. Insert damaged batteries (swollen, deteriorated exterior, leaky, etc.) into a clear plastic bag ideally zipped with insulation (vermiculite, cat litter) before placing them in your container.
In our next blog, the safe transportation of lithium batteries will be discussed so you can travel with peace of mind.
Health Canada. (2022, January 21). Battery safety. Government of Canada.
Raw Materials Company Inc. (s.d.). How to Prepare Your Batteries for Recycling. Raw Materials Company Inc. https://www.rawmaterials.com/page/education/prepare-batteries/