Wondering how to dispose of that household battery or unused hot tub chemical?
If your answer is simply to throw it in the trash, you could be sparking potentially dangerous fires at the Hartland Landfill.
Recycle BC has reported an increase in fires from improper disposal of hazardous waste in BC in 2019, with many creating unsafe situations for staff and forcing temporary closures at facilities, explains Russ Smith, senior manager of the CRD’s environmental resource management team.
Just what’s sparking these fires?
Propane canisters and lithium ion batteries from cell phone and laptops are two of the most common causes of these recent fires around the province.
Here in the capital region, about half of landfill fires are caused by batteries, especially lithium ion batteries found in consumer electronics, and half from household hazardous waste such as hot tub and pool chemicals.
These items MUST be properly disposed of. For residents in the capital region, drop off of these items is FREE at the Hartland Depot.
“What you put in the garbage matters. While we haven’t had a large fire at the Hartland Landfill since 2015, small fires remain a monthly occurrence, despite landfill material bans and strong, safety-focused operational practices,” Smith says.
“Although most fires are quickly contained by staff, there’s always potential for a fire to grow to an unmanageable level, especially in early fall, after a dry summer and before the rains arrive.”
The good news is that landfill fires are easy to avoid if residents keep hazardous household items out of the trash. Here’s how to do that:
- Household batteries – These contain heavy metals like lead, cadmium, zinc, manganese and lithium that can be re-used if they’re recycled properly. Batteries can be collected and dropped off for free at one of more than 50 convenient locations across the region that collect these items for recycling – visit Call2Recycle.ca to find the drop-off location closest to you.
- Household electronics – The electronics that contain most of these batteries are also easily recyclable – both at the Hartland Depot recycling depot and at various other community sites.
- Hot tub and pool chemicals – The only safe place for pool chemicals is in your pool or hot tub. Old, unused or expired chemicals can be dropped off six days a week at the Hartland Depot for FREE, keeping them out of the landfill and away from potential fire sources. Learn more about this free disposal program at crd.bc.ca/hhw.
And learn where you can drop off these items and more at myrecyclopedia.ca!