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How to get rid of cell phone batteries safely

Cell phone batteries can be flammable. So tossing them in the trash or recycling bin is dangerous, warns the Solid Waste Authority of Palm Beach County.

It’s OK to put regular alkaline batteries like AA, AAA, C, D and 9-volt in the garbage. But not rechargeable, nickel-cadmium, automotive, lithium-ion, cell phone or lead-acid batteries.

The SWA recommends taking them to the nearest Home Chemical and Recycling Center. See the two closest to Boca and their hours below.

Fires traced to lithium ion batteries have started in garbage trucks and recycling facilities. “The battery heats up when shorted or damaged, and when that happens, they produce oxygen, which facilitates combustion,” the SWA says.

“We may only be starting to see the tip of the iceberg,” SWA director of Facility and Contract Operations Ray Schauer said in a statement.

SWAs west south county transfer station is at 13400 S. State Road 7 in Delray Beach. Hours are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday

SWA’s east south county transfer station is at 1901 SW Fourth Ave. in Delray Beach. Hours are the same as the west center.

Many major retailers will recycle batteries for free, the SWA said. They may have drop-off containers placed near the front of the stores.

“We’re asking all Palm Beach County residents to please never throw rechargeable batteries either in the garbage or your recycling bin,” Schauer said.

In the last fiscal year, Palm Beach County residents recycled:

·         57,460 pounds of lead acid batteries
·         6,896 pounds of mixed batteries
·         3,400 pounds of ni-cad batteries and
·         2,280 pounds of lithium ion batteries

at SWA’s Home Chemical and Recycling Centers. For a list of all seven centers, go to the SWA webpage or for questions call 561-697-2700 or 866-SWA-INFO toll-free.


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