(Waukesha, WI) – With National Battery Day just around the corner on February 18, Waukesha County Recycling and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds the public of the dangers of throwing used batteries and electronics in their trash or recycling.
“When you put electronics or batteries in your curbside containers, you’re putting haulers and facility workers at risk,” said Analiese Smith, Recycling & Solid Waste Supervisor for Waukesha County. “For the safety of employees and to prevent fires at landfills and recycling facilities it is important to take the extra step and take batteries and electronics to approved drop off locations.”
Collection trucks and recycling facilities have seen increasing numbers of fires caused by damaged batteries. Many batteries, especially powerful lithium-ion batteries in small electronics, can hold a considerable charge even when they no longer provide sufficient energy to power a device. The heavy equipment involved with collecting, sorting, and recycling can easily damage the batteries. When these batteries are damaged, they can spark or react in ways that can lead to a fire.
Residents can help keep workers, equipment and facilities safe by following these simple guidelines:
- Learn about the different types of batteries and how to manage them. View Waukesha County’s household battery recycling guide at www.waukeshacounty.gov/batteries or search for resources at www.call2recycle.org.
- When storing batteries for recycling, tape the terminals or put each battery in an individual plastic bag, which prevents batteries from accidentally sparking if terminals touch.
- Store damaged (swollen, bent, punctured or crushed) batteries or devices in sand or kitty litter and, if possible, contact the manufacturer or Call2Recycle for instructions.
- Do not try to take non-removable batteries out of devices, as this could lead to damage.
- Electronics such as TVs and computers are banned from landfills and incinerators and are not accepted at the same facilities that recycle your curbside recyclables like plastics, glass and paper.
Visit www.waukeshacounty.gov/electronics for a list of local resources or use the DNR’s interactive map tool to locate a collection site or mail-back program at wisconsindnr.shinyapps.io/EcycleCollectorSite.
For information on how to dispose of batteries and electronics, visit www.waukeshacounty.gov/electronics.