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SB-1156 Lithium-ion batteries: illegal disposal: fire prevention.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 08/21/2020 11:07 AM
SB1156:v93#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  August 24, 2020
Amended  IN  Assembly  July 27, 2020
Amended  IN  Senate  June 18, 2020
Amended  IN  Senate  May 26, 2020
Amended  IN  Senate  May 18, 2020
Amended  IN  Senate  April 29, 2020

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill
No. 1156


Introduced by Senator Archuleta
(Coauthor: Senator Rubio)

February 20, 2020


An act to add Chapter 7.9 (commencing with Section 42435) to Part 3 of Division 30 of the Public Resources Code, relating to hazardous waste.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 1156, as amended, Archuleta. Lithium-ion batteries: illegal disposal: fire prevention.
The Rechargeable Battery Recycling Act of 2006 requires every retailer, as defined, to have in place a system for the acceptance and collection of used rechargeable batteries, defined to include lithium-ion batteries, for reuse, recycling, or proper disposal. The act requires the system for the acceptance and collection of used rechargeable batteries to include, at a minimum, specified elements, including, among others, the take-back of a used rechargeable battery at no cost to the consumer.
The hazardous waste control laws, among other things, authorize the Department of Toxic Substances Control to regulate the generation and disposal of hazardous waste. Existing law prohibits a person from intentionally disposing of or causing the disposal of a hazardous or extremely hazardous waste at a point not authorized by the hazardous waste control laws, as provided. Under existing department-adopted regulations, specified hazardous wastes, including certain batteries, are designated as “universal waste” and are regulated separately pursuant to universal waste management provisions. A violation of the hazardous waste control laws, including a regulation adopted pursuant to those laws, is a crime.
This bill would prohibit a person from knowingly disposing of a lithium-ion battery in a container or receptacle that is intended for the collection of solid waste or recyclable materials, unless the container or receptacle is designated for the collection of batteries for recycling, as provided.
The bill would require the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery, on or before July 1, 2023, and in consultation with the Department of Toxic Substances Control, to develop a guidance document relating to the proper handling and disposal of lithium-ion batteries and products that contain lithium-ion batteries, as provided. The bill would authorize the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery, in carrying out that requirement, to solicit and use any expertise available in other state agencies and would authorize the department to convene a specified working group to advise on the content, development, and promotion of the guidance document.
The bill would require the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, before January 1, 2022, in consultation with relevant state agencies and stakeholders, to develop a model protocol and training that identifies best practices for the detection, safe handling, and suppression of fires that originate from discarded lithium-ion batteries or products that contain lithium-ion batteries on or in solid waste or recycling collection vehicles, transfer or processing stations, or disposal facilities, as provided. The bill would require a solid waste enterprise, as defined, before July 1, 2022, after consulting with the county fire marshal of every county in which the solid waste enterprise conducts solid waste collection operations, to adopt adopt, or update if necessary, a protocol and arrange any necessary training for relevant employees that identifies procedures to follow under those same circumstances. By imposing new duties on county fire marshals, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to the statutory provisions noted above.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 (a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(1) Many types of batteries, including common rechargeable and single-use batteries, exhibit hazardous characteristics and are considered hazardous waste when they are discarded. Currently, batteries are prohibited from being disposed of in trash or household recycling collection bins intended to receive other nonhazardous waste or recyclable materials. Despite this prohibition, many batteries are improperly disposed of in this way.
(2) While the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Act of 2006 has resulted in the recovery of millions of rechargeable batteries, the act does not apply to the sale of rechargeable batteries that are contained in or packaged with a battery-operated device. Too often, these battery-operated devices are disposed of along with ordinary household waste.
(3) Lithium-ion batteries are often found in consumer electronics, including notebook computers, tablets, and cellular telephones. Because lithium-ion batteries offer advantages in performance over traditional alkaline and lead-acid batteries, they are the fastest growing type of rechargeable battery. As the use of consumer electronics increases, the use of lithium-ion batteries also increases. A major downside to the lithium-ion battery is safety, particularly the risk of fire that can result from overcharge, internal short circuit, or other factors, including their high energy density and use of a flammable organic electrolyte.
(4) Most waste collection services are now automated, which has led to greater collection efficiencies and improved worker safety. Waste collection vehicles use hydraulic pressure to compact the load and evenly distribute weight. A balanced load contributes to the safe operation and handling of the vehicle. However, automation and load consolidation afford little opportunity to identify or detect the presence of prohibited materials, such as small batteries and battery-operated devices, in carts that are set out for collection.
(5) Waste collection and recycling vehicle fleet operators report dramatic increases in payload fires over the past few years, corresponding to the increased presence of lithium-ion batteries and battery-operated devices that have been illegally discarded into the waste stream. Transfer stations and recycling facilities also report a significant increase in the incidence of fires. Improperly disposed of lithium-ion batteries and battery-operated devices are believed to be a major cause of those vehicle and facility fires. These fires are particularly difficult to detect and extinguish when they originate deep within a compacted load.
(6) Waste and recycling collection vehicle, transfer station, and recycling facility fires attributed to illegally disposed of batteries are estimated to have resulted in property losses of several millions of dollars. They also disrupt the conduct of waste recycling activities, which represent an essential public service that provides a broad array of environmental and emissions reduction benefits. Seasonal drought conditions can exacerbate the risk of wildfire resulting from even a single vehicle or facility fire.
(7) More must be done to better educate the public about, and bring awareness to, the risks presented by the illegal disposal of lithium-ion batteries and products that contain lithium-ion batteries and to discourage that behavior.
(b) It is therefore the intent of the Legislature to address the issue of illegally discarded lithium-ion batteries and products that contain lithium-ion batteries.

SEC. 2.

 Chapter 7.9 (commencing with Section 42435) is added to Part 3 of Division 30 of the Public Resources Code, to read:
CHAPTER  7.9. Lithium-Ion Batteries

42435.
 (a) Before January 1, 2022, the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, in consultation with relevant state agencies and stakeholders, including, but not limited to, the Department of Toxic Substances Control, the Department of the California Highway Patrol, and representatives from the solid waste industry industry, including local governments that also operate solid waste or recycling collection fleets or that own or operate a transfer or processing station or disposal facility, shall, using existing resources, develop a model protocol and training that identifies best practices for the detection, safe handling, and suppression of fires that originate from discarded lithium-ion batteries or products that contain lithium-ion batteries on or in solid waste or recycling collection vehicles, transfer or processing stations, or disposal facilities. The Department of Forestry and Fire Protection shall post the model protocol on its internet website.
(b) Before July 1, 2022, a solid waste enterprise shall, after consulting with the county fire marshal of every county in which the solid waste enterprise conducts solid waste collection operations, adopt adopt, or update if necessary, a protocol and arrange any necessary training for relevant employees that identifies procedures to follow for the detection, safe handling, and suppression of fires that originate from discarded lithium-ion batteries or products that contain lithium-ion batteries on or in solid waste or recycling collection vehicles, transfer or processing stations, or disposal facilities.

42435.5.
 (a) On or before July 1, 2023, the department, in consultation with the Department of Toxic Substances Control, shall develop a guidance document for use by local governments to better inform, educate, and increase public awareness as to the proper handling of, and the risk of fire due to the mishandling or improper disposal of, lithium-ion batteries and products that contain lithium-ion batteries, and to reduce the likelihood of illegal disposal. In carrying out this section, the department may solicit and use any expertise available in other state agencies.
(b) For purposes of this section, the department may prepare, publish on the department’s internet website, or issue any materials that the department determines necessary for disseminating information, including existing or updated guidance developed by the Department of Toxic Substances Control pursuant to the universal waste provisions in Chapter 6.5 (commencing with Section 25100) of Division 20 of the Health and Safety Code, and implementing regulations, or pursuant to the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Act of 2006 (Chapter 8.4 (commencing with Section 42451)), or any other relevant guidance.
(c) The department may convene a working group composed of representatives from the solid waste industry and local government to advise the department on the content, development, and promotion of the guidance document specified in subdivision (a).

42436.
 A person shall not knowingly dispose of a lithium-ion battery by depositing it in a container or receptacle that is intended for the collection of solid waste or recyclable materials, unless the container or receptacle is designated for the collection of batteries for recycling pursuant to the universal waste provisions in Chapter 6.5 (commencing with Section 25100) of Division 20 of the Health and Safety Code and implementing regulations. Nothing in this section precludes the enforcement of any state law, including Chapter 6.5 (commencing with Section 25100) of Division 20 of the Health and Safety Code, or federal hazardous waste law with respect to waste batteries, including lithium-ion batteries.

SEC. 3.

 If the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.