Health & Safety

October 9, 2015

Batteries, ashes and flammable recyclables don’t mix

Steven Madoski
412th Civil Engineering Group

An Edwards recycling truck driver recently discovered his vehicle on fire after picking up recyclables from the military family housing areas early last month.
There were no injuries to personnel and no property damage occurred to the truck, landfill facilities or any other equipment, other than the blistering of paint on the trash truck.
The cause of the fire was not determined. However, fires like this generally occur from improper disposal of hazardous materials. Mike Ferola, landfill contractor, stated, “Among the most prevalent causes of recycling/waste fires is improper disposal of things like batteries and ashes and embers at collection points.”
Edwards AFB Environmental Management reminds everyone to properly dispose of hazardous materials. Housing area residents should turn in items like batteries and household hazardous wastes at  the Corvias U-Fix-It shop. Other activities on base should utilize the Haz Waste Storage Facility (HWSF) or Consolidated Recycling and Universal Waste facility for turn-in of regulated waste, such as batteries, fluorescent light bulbs, E-waste, and hazardous materials.
Batteries should not be included in comingled recycling containers, and when collected for recycling in dedicated containers, they should be taped so that all exposed terminals are insulated. This prevents heat buildup or sparking from residual power in the mostly spent batteries. Embers and ashes should be completely extinguished before placing in trash cans. Any oily rags should be handled as hazardous waste, and disposed of separately by collecting in special fire proof containers.
For more information on the best way to handle potentially hazardous wastes, contact Edwards AFB Environmental Management at 661-277-1401. For housing residents, contact Corvias at 661-385-6060.

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