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Improperly recycled batteries can cause fires at Hubbard County transfer station

Hubbard County Solid Waste reminds residents to take rechargeable batteries to the household hazardous waste area at the transfer station.

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One of the most overused symbols is the recycling symbol. There is a recycling symbol slapped on almost everything we buy, but whether or not that item can actually be recycled is a different story. Just because a recycling symbol is found on the packaging of the product does not guarantee it will be accepted in a local recycling program.

It is crucial that you know what your local recycling program accepts and stick to the guidelines they provide.

One item that typically has a recycling symbol on it is rechargeable batteries. Despite what this recycling symbol leads you to believe, these batteries cannot be placed in the regular recycling with your bottles and cans.

Rechargeable batteries can and must be recycled, but they belong in the household hazardous waste area at the transfer station. They cannot be placed in your regular garbage or your single sort recycling.

We separate rechargeable batteries from other materials and handle them carefully. Rechargeable batteries must be removed before disposing of items like toys, tools, or appliances.

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Cell phones must be recycled in the household hazardous waste area of the transfer station as well.

If rechargeable batteries are handled improperly and placed in your recycling or garbage, they can create fires. Some recycling facilities have burned to the ground because of improper recycling.

In Park Rapids, we had a fire in our recycling compactor box in 2019. We believe the fire was more than likely caused by the improper recycling of a rechargeable battery.

Since then, Becker County had a major fire at their transfer station in Detroit Lakes that caused significant damage.

Beltrami County in Bemidji just recently had a cell phone battery burst into flames on their tipping floor. It had been improperly disposed of and it was driven over by equipment at the facility. Luckily, in that situation, it wasn’t near the rest of the waste pile and there were no damages or injuries.

So remember, for the safety of everyone involved, please follow local recycling guidelines, and properly dispose of rechargeable batteries with your household hazardous waste items.

For more information please visit our website at www.co.hubbard.mn.us/waste. If you have any questions or concerns please email solidwaste@co.hubbard.mn.us or call 218-732-1468.

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