How do I dispose of a bloated lithium ion battery correctly?

Bloated batteries are broken and should no longer be used! This also applies to cracked, bent or in any other form damaged batteries.

Is a bloated battery dangerous?

There is a certain danger associated with it, however spontaneous combustion or explosion won’t happen. But you should not try to open the battery or tamper with it in any other way.

Why do battery bloat?

Batteries use electrolytes to store energy. They are fabricated in a very complicated process during which water is removed from the battery. However if water remains in the battery there is a greater chance of it bloating. The reason for the bloating is, that through a chemical reaction in the battery hydrogen and oxygen are produced and trapped in the batteries casing. This can be dangerous if the battery is opened, but otherwise an explosion or fire should be unlikely. Cylindrical batteries like AA, AAA or 18650 also tend to produce these gases. However the more robust metal casing and a valve prevent bloating.

Where can I dispose of the bloated battery?

Batteries must not be disposed of in household waste. They can be disposed of at a electronics vendor or in municipal collection free of charge.

Can I send the battery back to the retailer for an exchange unit?

No, it is forbidden to send bloated batteries by mail. The risk during transport is to high. More information in this article here … .

Are inexpensive replacement batteries more endangered, than original batteries?

Premium original batteries have predetermined breaking points and security mechanisms, which make bloating less likely. Should this still happen the predetermined breaking points let the gas escape. Furthermore, they also have a chip which can disconnect individual cells when low voltage is detected to prevent deep-discharge. Replacement batteries do not have this chip and therefore don’t do as well in long-term storage.

Tips to increase the lifespan of your battery

  • Avoid high temperatures (above 30°C if possible)
  • Avid high air humidity
  • Never leave your device in the sun for a long time
  • When storing the battery for a longer time (multiple weeks) charge it to about 50% and remove it from your device
  • Avoid a complete discharge
  • It would be optimal to keep the charge between 20% and 80%

With these tips you should be able to avoid a bloated battery. Should it bloat nonetheless you now know where to correctly dispose of it. And there is no reason to worry about the bloated battery exploding or catching fire.

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