Lane County is warning residents about the danger of throwing lithium batteries in the trash, which, as they become more popular, have become a bigger problem for landfills.
The major problem with lithium batteries is, if damaged, they’re prone to explode or start a fire.
Since last June, Lane County Waste Management notes 16 battery-related fires at Short Mountain landfill. Now, they’re spreading a word of caution to fix the problem.
They’re in laptops, cell phones, and electric tools. Even some regular old AA batteries are lithium these days, and there’s one place they just do not belong — in your trash.
Hazardous Waste Program Supervisor, Don Strunk, says to keep them out of trash and home, and out of the County’s landfill. Because once these batteries are damaged or punctured, they’re a fire waiting to happen.
If you throw that type of hazardous material into a landfill that is rife with fuel, it could mean disaster. Just last week, there was a fire at the Short Mountain Landfill, and Lane County doesn’t know what caused it.
Often times in these fires, they say lithium batteries are the culprit, which is why they’re now issuing a warning before the weather starts to heat up in the area.
“In the summertime, it’s not uncommon for us to have and have a fire every week,” said Strunk.
So to avoid that this year, they ask everyone to dispose of your lithium batteries properly, either at a transfer station that will accept them as part of electronics recycling, or by appointment, for free, at the Hazardous Waste Collection Center in Glenwood.
This way, they don’t have to worry anymore about where and when lithium batteries could spark.
For those on the coast, this weekend Lane County is collecting household hazardous waste in Florence, which includes lithium batteries. They’ll be at the site off Rhododendron on Friday, from noon to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.