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2.5 million Samsung smartphones were called back because they might explode. Now the problem is how to dispose of them in a safe way.
Samsung has recalled 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7 smartphones due to a now notorious problem that led some of them to catch fire. But where will they end up now? They are waste material, no doubt. The problem is that just as the phones are dangerous for consumers, they might be dangerous for the operators who will have to manage their disposal.
The problem for treating plants, explains e-Scrap News, is the lithium-ion battery, which is non-removable, as it is bound to the phone with a heavy-duty adhesive.
Craig Boswell, president of HOBI International, a U.S. group specialized in the recycling of electronic waste, says phones like this must be manually disassembled before they can go to precious metals recovery. He says removing the battery means prying on it: this can result in a bent or punctured battery, which can lead to a fire.
“Anyone disassembling phones in volume has experienced at least one battery fire” Boswell says.
Michigan-based Schupan Electronics Recycling is taking preventive measures in case Samsung phones come in for recycling. General Manager Cory Psycher says they have ordered fire extinguishers specifically for lithium-ion batteries and have special safety posters for employees.
Samsung told Motherboard it has a process to safely dispose of the phones, but it didn’t give any further details. The phones, anyway, will not be repaired or refurbished.
Source: Resource Recycling