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Waste Management Authority shares tips on preventing battery fires 

Waste Management shares tips on preventing battery fires

–The San Luis Obispo County Integrated Waste Management Authority has shared the following tips on preventing battery fires:

Never throw batteries in the trash or recycling

Although batteries are an amazing technology that allow us to use electricity in all sorts of portable devices, it’s important that they are disposed of properly. Batteries are hazardous waste and cannot be disposed of in any of your bins, as they can be harmful to waste workers, public health, and the environment. All batteries must be disposed of as hazardous waste, including AAA, AA, C, D, button cell, 9-volt, lithium-ion, and any other single-use or rechargeable batteries, whether loose or contained inside of a device.

Why not?

Batteries contain heavy metals and corrosive materials that can react and catch fire. When stored or disposed of improperly, batteries have the potential to catch fire in your home, in a garbage truck or at waste and recycling facilities. Battery fires are serious and have the potential to harm waste workers and destroy entire facilities.

Storage and disposal

All of these potential risks mean we must store and dispose of batteries and battery-powered electronics safely.

In our homes, batteries should be kept in their original packaging or in separate plastic bags or containers to avoid contact with other metals. If you are bunching together loose batteries, be sure to keep the positive and negative sides of the batteries facing the same direction to avoid contact of opposing battery terminals. You can use either tape or a rubber band to bunch batteries together, then place them in a plastic bag.

Through the IWMA’s SLO Take Back Program, every retailer that sells household batteries in San Luis Obispo County must take those items back from the public for free. To be recycled through this program, batteries should be fully discharged.

Reduce and reuse

You can keep our environmental impact low by reducing your demand for new batteries. Extend the life of your batteries by avoiding exposure to extreme temperatures and turning off battery-powered devices when not in use. When possible, substitute rechargeable batteries in place of single-use ones to reduce your impact and save money. Click here to read more about the benefits of rechargeable batteries and find out where to use and avoid them.

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