CLEVELAND — The next time you want to throw something out, double-check it’s not something that is flammable. Workers at Republic Services, which handles the waste and recycling collection for dozens of communities across Northeast Ohio, say they have seen too many flammable electronics put in bins.
“There were actually 317 fires this past year in just recycling and waste facilities in the United States and Canada,” said Heather Brown, operations manager at Republic Services.
The interaction with flammable electronics is putting lives at risk, so Republic Services is offering a new mail-back program to make recycling electronic waste or “e-waste” easier.
You can order a pre-paid, pre-addressed box online of any size you need, then package and ship your items at your convenience to be recycled properly.
Republic Services said some of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to dangerous e-waste is throwing things out like DVD players, TVs, household appliances, basically anything with a cord.
The biggest issue is batteries, especially lithium-ion batteries.
They’re the most popular kind of rechargeable battery found in devices like laptops, cell phones and smartwatches, even in rechargeable toothbrushes and vaping devices.
“When you get that inside of a truck that compresses with the other material, whether it's trash or recycling, it could spark a fire,” said Brown.
You can also recycle old lithium batteries at major retailers like Best Buy, Lowes, Home Depot and Staples.
Click here to learn more about the program.
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