ISRI hosted a briefing in conjunction with the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, which examined the safe handling, transportation and recycling of lithium-ion batteries. Senators Tom Carper (D-Del.) and John Boozman (R-AR), also co-chairs of the Senate Recycling Caucus, raised legislative efforts aimed at providing resources that help reduce battery-related fires. This included highlighting the Infrastructure and Jobs Act, which became law in 2021, and provided $275 million for recycling grants and $25 million in funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to increase battery collection and recycling nationwide and help reduce battery-related fires. ISRI was joined by the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) in hosting the briefing attended by approximately 300 people.
“Lithium-ion batteries are everywhere – including smartphones, laptops, kitchen appliances – which means they often end up in the residential recycling stream where they can cause fires,” said ISRI President Robin Wiener at the briefing. “The recycling industry has a robust fire safety training program and we continue to work first responders to tackle this growing problem. Given the increased demand for batteries of all kinds, we must stay vigilant, continue to train and protect our employees and look for more innovative ways to safely recycle these vital materials.”
The panel included: Robert Pickens, Vice President at Recycling, American Waste Control, Inc., in Tulsa, Okla.; Eduardo Rodriguez, Deputy Public Works Director, Solid Waste Division for the City of Phoenix, Arizona; Craig Boswell, Co-Founder and President of ISRI member HOBI International, and Ryan Woodward, Chief of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs for the National Volunteer Fire Council.