Josh Siegel introduced legislation, bill, HB 2241, that would put the onus on manufacturers to provide safe recycling options for lithium-ion batteries, as well as launch an education campaign to teach residents how to dispose of used batteries properly. Inspired by battery fires both here in the Valley and across the commonwealth, some fatal, environmentalists are championing the effort.

Many of the electronics residents use in daily life rely on rechargeable batteries that need critical minerals which are finite, said Faran Savitz, a zero-waste advocate with PennEnvironment. “When we buy electronics, we should expect them to last, but far too often what we buy is disposable and has us stuck in a loop of buy, use, toss and buy again,” Savitz said. “We can’t afford to keep throwing out the batteries that power our clean energy future, especially when that means sending them to landfills where they pose a toxic threat to our wildlife and our health. “HB 2241 can be a positive step and would help make the producers of this waste responsible for dealing with it instead of burdening Pennsylvanians.”

Incidents of battery fires across the U.S., especially at recycling or waste facilities, have sharply increased in the past decade “Both the number of facilities affected and number of fires have increased dramatically in recent years, growing from only two fires being reported at a single facility in 2013 to 65 fires reported across 16 different facilities in 2020,” according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2021 report, “An Analysis of Lithium-ion Battery Fires in Waste Management and Recycling.”

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Author: Molly Bilinski,
Photo by Roberto Sorin on Unsplash