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ENVIRONMENT

Batteries — small item with big consequences

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landfill hazardous materials1 21-08-29s

The Carroll County Solid Waste Management Commission is offering collection stations around Carroll County for batteries and other hazardous items. Batteries such as this one from a laptop can cause fires in the landfill and should be disposed of as hazardous waste.

Some might not know that an item that would fit in the palm of your hand — or even smaller than a pencil eraser — could cause major trouble.

Modern batteries are small but mighty, delivering longer-lasting power.

They also deliver a powerful and extremely hot flame when the casing of the battery is damaged or crushed. Recent landfill fires can be directly linked to batteries that were thrown in the trash, or left in an item brought to the landfill.

Generally, batteries are quite safe, as long as the casing is intact. People carry them daily, from phones to key fobs, from hearing aids to electronics. They sit on our bodies, in our pockets, or lay on our desks. But, when a 110,000-pound landfill compactor crushes a battery, it damages the casing, introducing oxygen to the materials inside. That’s when a fire starts.

In an effort to educate about battery fires and to provide a convenient way to dispose of household hazardous batteries, Carroll County Solid Waste, along with its partners, is providing Battery Collection Sites within communities in Carroll County. All batteries other than alkaline ones should be disposed of at these sites; alkaline batteries are safe to throw away.

“We realize life becomes busy, and there is not always time to make the trip to the Recycling Center,” said Mary Wittry, director of the Carroll County Solid Waste Management Commission. “Our goal is to inform and decrease landfill fires, while making household hazardous battery disposal easy and convenient as folks are out and about running errands.”

This program wouldn’t be possible without the partnerships of local businesses and cities. Through their generosity and concern for the environment, Carroll County Solid Waste is able to provide 12 battery collection sites throughout the city of Carroll, as well as in Arcadia, Breda, Coon Rapids, Dedham, Glidden, Halbur, Lidderdale, Manning and Templeton. The Commission thanks the businesses who have partnered in the effort.

Visit carrollcountylandfill.com, click on the Hazardous tab and scroll down to the Battery Disposal area to find a full list of Battery Collection Sites.

Hazardous Waste, including batteries and bulbs, can also be dropped off free of charge daily at the Recycling Center in Carroll during normal business hours. Those with questions about types of batteries can visit carrollcountylandfill.com for a hazardous battery brochure or call 712-792-5001.

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