According to an article in USA Today, lithium-ion battery manufacturers are pleading consumers to not throw used batteries in the trash or recycling bin. According to USA Today, 65-percent of waste facility fires were a direct result of lithium-ion batteries that were thrown away in the garbage.
Call2Recycle, a national recycling program funded by battery manufacturers, reported that there’s also a possibility of explosions in waste facilities when lithium-ion batteries from electronic devices are included in the garbage. As an example, USA Today reported that lithium-ion batteries were the cause of a five-alarm fire in a recycling facility in Queens, NY that burned for two days. it was also reported that a recycling plant in Indianapolis was shut down after a fire from batteries, and a garbage truck in New York City exploded when workers compacted waste that ignited a lithium battery.
The problem in California alone has reached a point where the state is launching an awareness campaign to get consumers to keep these batteries out of the garbage and out of lead-acid battery recycling centers too. In an effort to curb improper disposal of used lithium batteries, some areas are encouraging consumers to put the batteries in a plastic bag and set them on top of the trash cans for pickup. In addition, some retailers such as Home Depot, Lowes, and Best Buy, according to USA Today, have recycling centers for used lithium batteries.