While the cause of this week’s garbage truck fire is still under investigation, the last three truck fires for Republic Services have been caused by improper disposal of hazardous waste, including lithium batteries.
Used lithium and lithium ion batteries are considered hazardous waste. Rechargeable batteries, used in electronics (such as laptops), power tools and button batteries should all be taken to a hazardous waste collection site.
The City of Boise, in partnership with Ada County, offers free collection of household hazardous waste at 15 mobile sites across the county, as well as at the permanent Ada County Hazardous Waste Facility at the landfill. The countywide program collects an average of 1.4 million pounds of hazardous waste, or over 52 pounds per household per year. Accepted materials include, paints and solvents, household cleaners, yard chemicals, pool chemicals, electronics, propane tanks, and all batteries except alkaline, including lithium and lithium ion batteries that power most electronics.
“It’s incredibly important that residents be thoughtful about what they throw into their trash and recycling carts,” said Peter McCullough, Materials Management Program Manager with the City of Boise’s Public Works Department. “Situations like we saw this week are a reminder that there are real people who must handle these materials on a daily basis, and what gets set out at the curb has real implications for those drivers.”
When using a collection site, residents are asked to stay in their vehicles and site staff will collect the hazardous material from their vehicles.
A full schedule and map of mobile collection sites, and a list of what is accepted is available at curbitboise.org.