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Recser Oy
Teknobulevardi 3-5 G
01530 Vantaa

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Report: Safe collection of portable consumer lithium-ion batteries

The changes necessitated by the EU’s new Battery Regulation and our increasingly battery-reliant society require producers to assess safety and vulnerabilities across the collection chain. Safety must be considered in the context of collection equipment but also in relation to transport and battery handling, even though there is currently knowledge of very few realised risks.

The Battery Regulation expands producer responsibility to cover collection and transport equipment for decommissioned batteries. In 2025, the responsibility for arranging and covering the costs of equipment will be transferred to the producers, i.e. the importers, distance sellers and Finnish manufacturers of batteries. In practice, the producer organisation will procure the collection and transport equipment and transfer the increased costs to the recycling fees of batteries, according to the causation principle. The producers and producer organisations in Finland and elsewhere in Europe will need to assess the current level of safety and consider how to develop it.

In the future, the recycling volumes of lithium-ion batteries are predicted to increase significantly, and the cardboard boxes currently in use are not suitable for transporting lithium-ion batteries that weigh more than 0.5 kg or are damaged. At the moment, only some shops have procured or are about to procure collection equipment or extra equipment to limit possible fires. Collection solutions cannot eliminate all risks, meaning that it is important for the parties maintaining collection points to account for toxic flue gases in their rescue plans, for example. Collection is usually the most vulnerable point of the recycling chain. Fires are most likely in the context of transport and final processing, but the vulnerability is lower and preparedness arrangement are better.

The analysis was produced for Recser by Gaia Consulting Oy. The report is part of the Battery Safety Guidelines project, which also produced a digital battery safety guide in 2023 for retailers and other operators handling or collecting batteries for recycling. The digital battery safety guide was developed in collaboration with the Finnish Commerce Federation and the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes), and the entire project was funded by the Finnish Electrical Safety and Energy Efficiency Association (STEK).

The analysis includes an assessment of the current state of the collection of lithium-ion batteries, needs and views of stakeholders, and a summary of the collection and transport equipment of two reference countries, including cost comparisons.

The process yielded suggested measures to support Recser Oy, which organises the collection of portable batteries for producers in Finland, with the development of collection and transport equipment solutions. In addition to this, it provides an overview of appropriate collection equipment for all parties that collect decommissioned batteries.

Read the analysis here.