(Green Bay, WI) A close call at the Brown County Recycling Transfer Station is a good reminder that electronics and lithium batteries should never be thrown in recycling or garbage bins. On November 22, four lithium polymer batteries from a MacBook Air started smoldering and smoking under a pile of recyclables at the Brown County Recycling Transfer Station. Thanks to fast-acting staff, the smoldering battery pack was extinguished and disposed of properly before any damage was done to surrounding items.
Brown County Resource Recovery Technician, Chris Blan, explained exactly what happened, “Our loader operator, Curtis, smelled something burning on our recycling floor. He looked up and saw white smoke coming from one area of the mountain of recyclables. He then found the smoldering battery pack, extinguished it and removed it from the area to dispose of it properly.”
“Lithium polymer batteries like these are becoming more common” said Mark Walter, Business Development Manager at Brown County Resource Recovery. “And, unfortunately, that means they’re showing up in recycling more often. There’s a real danger when these are disposed of improperly; they can cause fires in the hauling truck as well as inside the Recycling Transfer Station or the Waste Transfer Station. We’ve also had to deal with fire issues when e-cigarettes are mistakenly recycled or thrown away.”
Lithium batteries, e-cigarettes and electronics should all be brought to the Brown County Hazardous Material Recovery Facility where they can be recycled and disposed of safely. Residential drop off hours are Thursday, noon - 6 p.m., and Saturday, 8 a.m. - 2 p.m. The facility is located at 2561 S. Broadway in Green Bay. For more details, call (920) 492-4950 or visit www.browncountyrecycling.org
“People may think it’s no big deal to simply throw these types of items in recycling or the trash, but it can become a big deal very quickly,” added Walter. “That’s why we’re asking for the public’s help in making sure the items are disposed of properly.”
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The purpose of the Brown County Port & Resource Recovery Department is to meet the solid waste disposal needs of local communities and businesses through methods which are environmentally sound and economical. To learn more, go to: www.BrownCountyRecycling.org. You can also follow us on Facebook (Brown County Recycling), Twitter (@recyclebrownco), Pinterest (@bcrecycling) and YouTube (Resource Recovery channel)