Alan Colledge, Cawleys
Alan Colledge, Senior Manager at Cawleys Hazardous Services.


Lithium-ion batteries will eventually become the norm in the mobility sector but while there are many advantages to their use, it is vital that retailers, dealers and manufacturers are aware of how to safely deal with them.

Exclusively to THIIS Magazine, Alan Colledge, Senior Manager at Cawleys Hazardous Services, specialists in hazardous and technical waste management, offers his advice…


When it comes to powering mobility scooters, lithium batteries have a lot to offer. They are much lighter than lead-acid batteries and therefore much easier to remove and charge. Their lightweight nature isn’t their only advantage. They also charge much faster than traditional batteries and last longer. All of these benefits go hand in hand with the green credentials associated with electric power.

With all these obvious advantages, it’s likely that lithium-ion batteries will eventually become the norm in the mobility sector. With that in mind, it’s worth exploring some of the more challenging aspects of working with these batteries.

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Firstly, damaged, defective or aged lithium batteries are a defined fire risk and can be dangerous. Whilst manufactures ensure combustion and ignition risks are virtually non-existent when they are in use, once they reach end of life, or become damaged, the risks increase.

The most significant risk for those in the possession of an end of life lithium-ion vehicle battery is explosion and fire. Their high electric voltage means that leaving these batteries standing in a corner of shop or warehouse indefinitely could be a risky strategy.

Safe disposal

As volumes of used lithium batteries increase, retailers, dealers and manufacturers will need a safe way to deal with them. Logically, the best way to do so is to involve the experts from the start. Organisations such as Cawleys Lithium Battery Recycling Services are established lithium battery recyclers and are able to provide safe storage and transportation services.

Working with a specialist will provide a way to manage costs and build in any disposal overheads at the start, especially important for those placing batteries onto the UK market for the first time. Cawleys takes the batteries to their licenced facility where the recycling process starts.  This includes a triage for the batteries where they are assessed for second life applications or end of life processing to unlock the precious raw materials inside including metals like Cobalt and Nickel.

Whilst this is a great approach, we understand that whilst volumes are still low, some organisations will store old batteries until they have enough to warrant a collection. In this instance, Cawleys advises on investing in safe storage, which the specialist can provide to give peace of mind.

Ultimately, the key to lithium battery disposal is to be prepared. Although volumes of returned batteries may be low today, they will increase at pace and it will pay to speak to a certified waste provider who can guide you through the risks and provide a sustainable exit route that ensure your business remains safe.

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