Last year thousands of self-balancing ‘hoverboards’ were impounded at ports across the UK after they were found to pose a fire risk.

Labelled by the media as “the UK’s most dangerous Christmas gift”, more than 17,000 self balancing boards were examined at national entry points in the months leading up to Christmas. Of these, over 15,000 were assessed and deemed unsafe for public use. The boards were detained and left to await their fate.

Call in the experts

In February, following these safety fears, iWaste was assigned the task of making a number of boards safe for use before correctly recycling the components.  (https://iwaste.co.uk/recycling-electrical-goods/)

The client had racked up losses in excess of £12,000 on importing the faulty boards. Trading Standards became involved and it was up to iWaste to remedy the situation.

The media reported the faults as being mainly to do with the battery and the way it was charged, as well as non UK compliant plugs, faults with the cut-off switch lead to battery overcharging, plugs without fuses, and cheap components used in factories in China where the boards were produced.

All of the above played a role in causing the hoverboards to catch fire and, in some cases, explode.

At the end of June, iWaste collected a further 3 pallets from a Trading Standards depot to again breakdown, make safe and recycle.

The difference between the components now and those from the boards collected earlier in the year was apparent. Although both batches of hoverboards look the same on the outside, the inside of the unit and the charger unit differed greatly.

The battery voltage had doubled from 24v to 48v volts, and enormous amounts of hot glue had been used to hold everything in place. Internal metal screws had been replaced by plastic screws.

What we did

The iWaste team used reverse technologies to break down the boards. The components and materials were segregated and put in to the recycling system to be turned into new products. Lithium ion batteries, which often contain useful metals like high-grade copper, aluminum, cobalt and nickel, as well as rare earths, go for specialist treatment.

Hoverboard main components: (Photos)

  • An aluminum/steel frame with a central pivot
  • A logic board
  • Two gyroscopes
  • Two infrared sensors
  • Two electric motors (located inside the wheels)
  • Two tilt/speed sensors (located inside the wheels)
  • Charging port
  • Power switch
  • A battery pack (Lithium ion battery)
  • LED lights
  • Pressure pads
  • A plastic shell
  • Bluetooth module and speaker

WEEE’ve got it covered

iWaste collect and dispose of all types of waste electronics. We work closely with the environment agency and deliver the highest level of customer service.

WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) collections are available across the whole of the UK. We also provide a range of onsite WEEE solutions.

As specialists in electronic waste treatment, decommissioning and difficult project kit extraction, iWaste work within most industrial sectors.

Trading Standards compliant

We offer solutions for businesses associated with Trading Standards who require the correct treatment of imported electronics which are not UK or EU compliant, including (but not limited to): hoverboard/balance boards, LED lighting, e-cigarettes, chargers and small electronic items imported from abroad.

Contact us
Speak to the iWaste team today and see how we can solve your WEEE problem. Call 0330 1200 250 or email: hello@iwaste.co.uk

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