A landlord has many duties and responsibilities. One of these is to advise tenants on household waste disposal. But do your tenants know how to use and dispose of lithium batteries responsibly? Use the information in this guide to advise residents on lithium battery recycling and disposal in your local area.
What are lithium batteries and where are they found?
Lithium batteries differ from regular, alkaline batteries. The lithium inside their casing enables them to function for longer, and produce double the voltage of their alkaline equivalents. Their lightweight features make them ideal for use in portable gadgets like digital cameras, mobile phones and laptops. These days, lithium batteries are not limited to the small, circular cells used in watches and other small devices; it’s also possible to buy AA and AAA type lithium batteries.
The chances are, most tenants will have lithium batteries in their homes, but they may not realise how important it is to store and dispose of them safely.
The dangers of lithium batteries, and how to stay safe
The potential danger of lithium batteries should be taken seriously. Highly flammable, lithium batteries catch fire easily when overheated, and can also explode if crushed.
If lithium batteries are treated and stored correctly, the chances of fire or explosion are very low, so it’s important for tenants to follow these essential safety measures:
- Do not be tempted to buy cheap lithium batteries from unofficial sources. Counterfeit batteries may not be manufactured to the same safety standards, so could pose a danger in your home.
- Take care to keep lithium batteries away from heat sources, as this could start a fire. Don’t leave your mobile phone on the radiator, or your laptop in a hot car.
- If you drop your device, or it gets exposed to moisture, do not continue to use the batteries until they have been checked – even if everything seems OK, they could gradually corrode over time.
- Do not carry loose lithium batteries in your pocket with metal or magnetic objects, as this can affect the internal circuitry.
- Always use the correct type of charger.
- Stop using your batteries and replace them immediately if they show signs of damage or leakage.
Lithium battery disposal
For the reasons above, most lithium batteries are classed as hazardous waste. That means tenants must always dispose of lithium batteries separately as the council will not collect them with general waste.
Lithium battery recycling is usually possible, and many supermarkets have a battery recycling point, which makes it easy and convenient to dispose of lithium batteries without throwing them out with the rubbish. Electrical stores and other outlets that sell batteries will also offer battery recycling.
Every local council operates waste disposal and recycling facilities. If you’re lucky, the council may even offer a household collection service for batteries. The Gov.UK website lets you search for your nearest hazardous waste disposal point; it’s helpful to make your tenants aware of their local facility or the provisions for lithium battery disposal in their area.