Waste Recovery Centre Warning Residents about the Hazards of Tossing Electronic Waste in the Garbage
Laurentian Valley, ON (June 26th, 2018) – Ottawa Valley Waste Recovery Centre is alarmed at a recent spike in small landfill fires that appear to be caused by improper disposal of small electronics; particularly those containing lithium-ion batteries. While these fires were quickly extinguished by fast acting Centre employees, fires of any size in or around the landfill are of particular concern as they have the potential to emit dangerous fumes from the combustion of a wide range of materials contained within the landfill. Landfill fires can also be difficult to put out if not detected immediately as they can spread under the surface and burn for extended periods of time.
In 2017, there were three landfill fires associated with electronic devices and hazardous waste being improperly disposed of in garbage. In 2018, there have already been five fires. In the most recent fire, an electronic tablet was recovered and found to have caused the fire.
Electronic devices such as tablets, cellphones and laptops contain rechargeable, lithium-ion batteries. When these batteries are punctured by the Centre’s landfill compacting equipment, the liquid contents of the battery react with water in the air generating high heat and sometimes producing a fire.
“We cannot stress enough the importance of proper disposal of electronic devices.” Comments Sue McCrae, Waste Recovery Centre General Manager. “The protection of the health and safety of our employees, the community and the environment is our priority. When people place items in the garbage improperly, it puts all these things at risk.”
Proper disposal of waste electronics is easy, convenient and drop-off is free. Residents of Petawawa, Pembroke, Laurentian Valley and North Algona Wilberforce have many options:
- The Ottawa Valley Waste Recovery Centre’s Electronic Waste Depot open year round at 900 Woito Station Road (Enter at Gate 3)
- Curbside pick-up during the Spring and Fall Large Item Collection (Petawawa, Pembroke and Laurentian Valley residents)
- Drop-off at the Centre’s Environmental Days (Next event is at Rockwood Public School, August 25th)
- Drop-off bins at Shaw Woods and Berndt Road Transfer Stations (North Algona Wilberforce residents only)
- Many community drop-off locations and/or events (i.e. schools, community organization fundraisers, etc.)