It seems we get this reminder from area fire departments each year, which is unfortunate because it means that the problem still exists.

The problem in question is the proper disposal of batteries, specifically lithium batteries. The most recent reminder of how dangerous it can be to simply throw these batteries in household garbages, or recycling bins, came Monday morning from the Hermantown Volunteer Fire Department.

According to their Facebook post, they helped the Proctor Fire Department control a fire that started in the back of a garbage truck. Also on the scene were the Solway Fire Department and the 148th Fighter Wing.

The fire presumably started from a lithium battery that someone had simply thrown in their recycling bin. The burning debris was quickly moved outdoors, which helped to limit any damage to the facility.

To avoid this type of fire from happening again and putting workers in danger, it's important that everyone knows how to properly dispose of batteries. WLSSD's disposal guide is pretty straightforward when it comes to household batteries. Not only is there a fire risk, but batteries may contain heavy metals that can find their way into the environment if the batteries are not disposed of properly.

Household batteries include both single-use and rechargeable dry cell batteries used to power toys, cameras, radios, flashlights, hearing aids, cell phones, and many other portable products.

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Here are the guidelines for proper household battery disposal:

  • Regular Alkaline batteries (AA, AAA, C, D, 9 volt) can be placed in household trash.
  • All rechargeable batteries (Nickel Cadmium, Alkaline, Nickel Metal Hydride, small sealed Lead Acid, and others) should be brought to WLSSD’s Household Hazardous Waste Facility for recycling.  Many local retailers also provide this service.
  • Lithium batteries from cameras, calculators, and other electronic devices should not be placed in the trash; bring them to WLSSD’s Household Hazardous Waste Facility.
  • Button batteries from watches, hearing aids, and other small devices contain mercury and silver that can be recycled. Bring them to the WLSSD Household Hazardous Waste Facility.

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