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Proper Battery Handling and Disposal Procedures

Proper Battery Handling

Batteries have been top-of-mind thanks to attention-getting stories from companies like Apple. Handling batteries can be dangerous if done negligently, which makes it important to ensure techs in your store practice safe and simple battery care.


The proper handling of batteries starts before they even arrive at your repair store and put into inventory. When we receive batteries, they are stored in fireproof safes as a safety precaution. If a battery combusts, the fireproof safe keeps the fire contained, which protects nearby products and employees.

When batteries arrive at your store, it’s important to practice safe battery procedures from the moment the shipment arrives. Here are some tips for how to avoid battery issues before you even touch a customer’s phone:

Leave the battery in the bag or box it was mailed in to avoid exposed contacts and to protect from damage.

Keep Them Cool
Store batteries in a cool, dry place. Batteries are dangerous when heated and can cause explosions if heated to extreme temperature - that's why it's important to keep them away from metal and anything hot.

During Repair

When repairing devices, you’ll come into contact with batteries. Make sure to practice care when approaching this area of a device. We’ve listed some key concepts to keep in mind when you’re working on a phone:

When taking a used battery out of a device, never pry the battery out or bend it. Damaging the battery, especially with metal tools, makes it more susceptible to battery fires or explosions.

Bloated Batteries
If you see a swollen or bulging battery, wrapping tape around the terminal and put it in a non-flammable material such as baking soda or sand can help prevent a fire or explosion if the battery leaks.

Use of Adhesive
Don't overdo it on the adhesive, as this will make removal tricky if the customer comes back for a rework. Nobody wants to work on a phone with a stuck battery, and an overly sticky battery can make it more difficult to remove it safely.

Battery Fires
While many stores have a procedure for how to handle a battery fire, it is important to be well-trained and ready for the unfortunate case that it happens. We have seen security cam footage of phone repair employees using a blanket or coat, or just running away in the instance of a battery fire. These actions are the wrong ones to take if a fire starts in your store.

Although battery fires are a frightening experience, keeping calm during the event will allow for a better reaction and outcome. An employee's safety always comes first. Using a metal dustpan to place the battery into a bucket of sand will be the cleanest way to put the fire out. Once the phone is in the bucket, dump more sand or baking soda on the device to suffocate the flames.

The quickest and simplest way to handle the fire would be with a fire extinguisher, but you run the risk of damaging other equipment or parts. A fire extinguisher is not guaranteed to put out the fire. Run a fire drill to ensure that everyone in your shop knows how to use your fire extinguishing method and where it is located.

When working with a lithium ion or lithium polymer battery, water can be used to cool the components inside and around the device, but is also not guaranteed to put out the fire. Whichever method your shop chooses, never put a burning battery into a closed container.

To learn more, Apple's battery recommendations can be read here.

Proper Disposal

Once the battery is removed from the device, it’s time to dispose of it. Doing this properly, though, is a bit different than just tossing the battery in the trash. Below are some key steps to making sure each battery is disposed of safely and responsibly.

Be sure to safely store your batteries after repair and prior to recycling. To store properly, either:

  1. Bag each battery individually in a plastic bag before placing it into a storage container,
  2. Wrap electrical tape around the terminal and secure it to the body of the battery.

Whichever option you decide, the important detail to note is that you do not want battery connections exposed or able to touch each other. This can cause battery fires, or in extreme situations, even battery explosions.

Next Steps
Batteries should be dropped off to recycling centers within 6 months to minimize potential damage in storage or while handling. Follow all the other steps and drop your batteries at a battery collection site near you. To find a battery disposal location in your area, check out www.call2recycle.org