15 February 2023

E-scooters and bikes add to 'battery fire danger', say metal recyclers

The British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA) has called for a UK Government-led campaign on the dangers caused by improperly discarded lithium-ion batteries in e-scooters and e-bikes.

© Enrique Ortega Miranda/unsplash

The BMRA is concerned that lives are at risk after responses to freedom of information requests reveal that e-scooters and e-bikes accounted for 167 fires in 2021 compared with 67 in 2020. There were 161 incidents recorded from January to September 2022, a 28% increase on the previous year's monthly average.

Many fires were attributed to conversion kits used to turn a standard bike into an electric one. 

BMRA calls for new rules to prevent households throwing unwanted electrical equipment out with the general waste. It urges local authorities to introduce kerbside collections of discarded electrical goods.

BMRA chief executive James Kelly says, 'This is a growing problem, which is putting the safety of members of the public and those working across the recycling sector at risk. For too long it has been ignored, which is why the BMRA is now calling for a government-supported campaign to better inform the public of the hazards both for safe use and disposal of lithium-ion batteries.'

The Chartered Trading Standards Institute has also warned about an 'alarming' number of fires attributed to e-scooter and e-bike batteries, saying that importers and sellers of such vehicles should ensure full compliance with product safety laws.

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