Used lithium-ion batteries, those that power up electronic devices such as cell phones, power tools, notebooks, and laptops, should not be placed in the household trash. These rechargeable batteries may no longer hold a charge, but could have enough power in them to start a fire, especially if the conditions are right.
In the past year, several fires have been reported at the Horn Rapids Landfill, all due to sparks or small explosions caused by lithium-ion batteries. And, it’s not just a local problem, it’s a national one. In 2017 alone, 65 percent of fires in California waste facilities were started by lithium-ion batteries.
Fires normally start in one of two ways; the metal terminals touch something metallic creating an electrical charge and spark, or the battery case becomes damaged along the way and explodes. Combine that with fuel, like paper and dry conditions, and you’ve got a fire.
Rechargeable batteries should be disposed of in recycling collection containers located at Home Depot, Lowes, Best Buy, Batteries Plus Bulbs, or Tri-City Battery.
Place the battery in a plastic bag, or tape terminals with electrical or duct tape prior to drop off. You can also drop them off at the Benton County household hazardous waste collection events. The spring event is scheduled on two weekends, Saturday, March 2, at 102808 Wiser Parkway in southwest Kennewick, and Saturday, April 6, at the county fairgrounds in east Kennewick.
Regular household batteries, (AA, AAA, C, D or 9V) can be dropped off at collection events or placed in the trash. If you choose the garbage can, it is recommended they be placed singularly, or in a container with kitty litter, used coffee grounds, or dried in a container of old latex paint to contain the corrosive material.
For more information, visit www.ci.richland.wa.us/solidwaste.
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