Waste Managers Warn of Fire Risk With Lithium Ion Batteries

Apr 16, 2019

A battery pack (left) used to jump-start a car or truck caught fire last summer at the Lebanon landfill.
Credit City of Lebanon

Lithium-ion batteries are a growing fire hazard at landfills and transfer stations across the region.

The batteries can spark under pressure and heat.

Waste managers are urging residents to properly dispose of electronics at designated recycling centers or hazardous waste collection sites.

The Lebanon landfill, which serves communities across the Upper Valley, has seen seven fires in the past ten months, said Marc Morgan, the facility’s solid waste manager.

The weight of machinery driving over a cell phone or tablet, embedded in a pile of garbage, is enough to cause a small explosion, he said.

The Northeast Resource Recovery Association, a non-profit focused on recycling and waste reduction, is running workshops this spring on proper battery handling. The next N.H. workshop will be May 2 in Plymouth.