Jim Neely, LHWMP in King County, Identifying and Classifying

Report
BATTERY IDENTIFICATION
AND CLASSIFICATION
James Neely
2013 NAHMMA Northwest Regional Conference
TOPICS
• Standardized marking
• Which batteries classify as
hazardous/dangerous waste
• Age of batteries
• Mercury content from old/counterfeit
batteries
• Lithium coin vs alkaline button cells
STANDARDS
• The International Electrotechnical Commission
(IEC) develops standards that contain standard
marking requirements for batteries
• From IEC 60086-1:
STANDARD NOMENCLATURE
Most battery types will start with a two-letter code
as developed by the IEC
Rechargeable Batteries
Primary Batteries
Letter Code
Chemistry
Letter Code
Chemistry
R*
Carbon zinc
HR
Nickel metal hydride
BR, CR, FR
Lithium
KR
Nickel cadmium
LR
Alkaline
PR, ZR
Zinc air
SR
Silver oxide
*The R is common in all types and means cylindrical. The Carbon Zinc types
contain only the R as they are referred to as the no-letter-system batteries.
Classification
Battery type
Appearance
Alkaline
May be cylindrical or button
Carbon Zinc Cylindrical
MercuricMercuric-oxide button batteries are not easily
oxide button distinguished from other button batteries. Banned 1996.
Silver-oxide
Silver-oxide button batteries are difficult to distinguish
button
from mercuric-oxide buttons.
Zinc-air button Button
Lithium
May be cylindrical or button.
*May contain added mercury at low levels
Hazardous
waste?
Not if lowmercury
No
Yes
Yes
No*
Yes
MERCURY CONTENT / BATTERY
AGE
Reputable batteries made after
1992/1993 are mercury free
How to tell?
Best if
Used By
Date
 Batteries with metal labels (except 9V) will be
pre-1990
 Batteries with green trees or other
environmental marking will be mercury free
 More than 99% of batteries in the waste stream
today are mercury free
Best if used-by dates
 Typically 5-7 years
Metal Label
Plastic Label
MERCURY REDUCTION
The graph below represents the mercury content of batteries in parts per
million in the waste stream as sampled at four US locations.
The weighted average for 2011 is 27.3 ppm.
COUNTERFEITS
• Counterfeits and Knockoffs are a concern but less so in North
America
• They can contain mercury or be mislabeled (carbon zinc batteries
posing as alkaline)
LITHIUM COIN VS. BUTTON CELLS
• 90% or more of lithium coin cells will be 20 mm or greater
in diameter, while other chemistries tend to be smaller
• The best bet is the refer the CR/BR marking (lithium) vs the
LR, PR or SR marking for the button types
• Nearly all button types will be 11.6 mm in diameter or less
Lithium
Coin
Button
Mercury Free Button Batteries
HAZARDS OF SORTED BATTERIES
• Alkaline types (including button cells) can get hot
when sorted but do not pose a fire hazard
• Lithium batteries, due to risk of short circuit, can get
hot and pose a risk of fire, especially coin cells
• Mixed cells (alkaline and lithium) can pose a fire
hazard due to short circuit of the lithium types but the
risk is substantially less than with exclusively lithium
types
Sorting is Half the Cost of Managing
Batteries

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