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Cawleys

0845 260 2000

Recycling Lithium-Ion batteries with Cawleys

Cawleys now provides a one-stop-shop with the ability to collect, store, pack, export and ensure the recycling of Lithium-Ion batteries, as used in Electric Vehicles and Plug-in Hybrids. The company is one of the first in the waste management industry to tackle Lithium-Ion battery waste in the automotive sector head on.

Cawleys has been dealing with Lithium-Ion battery waste since 2012, when the company discovered the UK did not have any facilities to help disassemble and recycle Lithium-Ion batteries. Instead, companies that used Lithium-Ion batteries stockpiled them on site, creating a significant health and safety threat.

Subsequently, Cawleys developed protocols and international relationships to create a true closed loop economy, enabling car manufacturers and those at any stage in the automotive supply chain to recover the metals and materials within the batteries.

The recycling service includes relevant safety precautions as the waste product is high voltage and holds chemical energy, which can lead to Thermal Runaway and fire. Once collected, the batteries are stored in bespoke containers to be transported. In line with Dangerous Good regulations, these containers are capable of controlling a thermal event and are the largest on the market, being able to carry up to 1400kg.

At Cawleys’ specialist facility, the battery is broken down into its component parts, enabling as many parts as possible to be recycled at locations either on site or in Europe – this includes structural parts such as wire looms.

The full recycling process of Lithium-Ion batteries by Cawleys is as follows:

  • Trained advisors audit and assess for safety and risk.
  • EV (electric) and PHEV (hybrid) batteries are checked against protocols.
  • Batteries are packaged in bespoke containers complying with Dangerous Goods regulations.
  • Batteries are safely transported to our fully licensed, UK based facility.
  • High voltage engineers separate the batteries into recoverable parts under safe, insulated conditions.
  • Battery modules and parts are processed for recovery and reuse. Lithium, cobalt and nickel are recycled.

Why is recycling Lithium-Ion batteries important?

The recovery and reuse of the battery is particularly important as there is currently a world shortage of cobalt, a key chemical material in the makeup of Lithium-Ion batteries. The largest reserves of cobalt are currently found in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Furthermore, current motor industry predictions suggest that shortly after 2020 there will be one million electric or hybrid vehicles on our roads. This means there will be approximately 100,000 tonnes of waste Lithium batteries to deal with. As well as this, the government introduced plans last year to stop the manufacture of all new petrol and diesel cars by 2040. This means the uptake in electric vehicles is a given but the resources to make them will come under immense pressure.

For the car industry to prove itself as a sustainable and safe, it needs to be ensuring the responsible disposal of Lithium-Ion batteries as demand increases. This is why, my colleague, William Furniss, Health and Safety Manager at Cawleys, and I are delighted to be attending the CARS Expo at Stoneleigh on Wednesday 11th and Thursday 12th June. Here we can answer any questions you may have on safe and sustainable Lithium-Ion battery disposal and recycling.

To find out more about Cawleys Lithium-Ion battery recycling, call 0845 260 2000 or email lithium@cawleys.co.uk.

Alan Colledge, Senior Manager for Cawleys Hazardous Services.

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