EPA Releases Memo Promoting Recycling of Lithium Batteries

The EPA issued a new memorandum promoting the recycling of lithium-ion batteries, a core part of a national push toward electrification. 

Last month the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a memorandum promoting the recycling of lithium-ion (LI) batteries. These batteries are a core piece of the federal and state push to electrify Maryland and eliminate the use of fossil fuels. LI batteries can be used in a wide range of devices, ranging from cars and cell phones to even being used at utility-scale to buildings. Unlike most other energy storage technology, LI batteries are particularly flammable if not handled correctly. As the adoption of these batteries increases, it is important officials in the public and private sector plan for the end of their life.

The EPA cites that, “…the EPA has determined that most lithium-ion batteries on the market today are likely to be hazardous waste when they are disposed of due to the ignitability (D001) and reactivity (D003) characteristics. Fires at end of life are common and mismanagement and damage to batteries make them more likely.”

The memorandum describes how the hazardous waste regulations for universal waste and recycling apply to lithium-ion batteries and describes steps stakeholders in this process can take to improve recycling.

Read the full memorandum.