Lithium-ion batteries are used to power smartphones and other electronic devices, including toothbrushes, scooters, bikes, vape pens and more.
We’re told such items may explode or catch fire when the county’s sorting equipment handles or crushes them.
DPW says an electric scooter recently combusted at the South Kent Recycling and Waste Center.
“While we were able to safely extinguish the fires, we would like residents to take advantage of our free SafeChem disposal program,” says DPW Director Dar Baas. “Lithium-ion batteries become a huge problem if they are not disposed of properly, and for the safety of our workers and facilities, we’d like Kent County residents to be mindful of what they’re throwing in the trash.”
Citing an analysis by the Envionmental Protection Agency (EPA), DPW says waste facilities across the country are seeing an uptick in fires caused by lithium-ion batteries.
To curb the rate of fires and explosions, the DPW advises residents to dispose their hazardous waste via the SafeChem program.
Visit DPW’s website for program locations and acceptable items.