Last week (Thursday, 18 February, 2021) a small fire, caused by a phone battery, occurred at the George Town Landfill.
Thanks to the quick actions of the team at the Department of Environmental Health (DEH) the battery was isolated and the fire extinguished.
This is the third incident in which a fire at the George Town Landfill had been linked to a smoldering battery. As the batteries move around in large trucks during transport, or if they are pushed around in a landfill, they can be punctured or pressure and heat can cause the battery to spark and ignite a fire.
“Lithium ion batteries are often the cause of fires in landfills and other waste handling facilities. It is not always easy to know what each type of battery is called so we have come up with a guide we hope will help the community. You can find it on our website as well, www.deh.gov.ky” says Michael Haworth, DEH Assistant Director – Solid Waste.
“Although we use batteries in everyday items”, Mr Haworth notes, “We rarely think of them as a hazard as they are powering our smartphones, laptops, and watches etc. yet we must be mindful of the hidden dangers.”
DEH encourages the public to dispose of their batteries in the recycling tubes found across the Cayman Islands at supermarkets and other commercial locations and not in their regular garbage.
With over 50+ recycling drop-off points for small batteries through-out the islands; “It would be great to see the entire community recycling all their batteries,” added Mr Haworth.
“We appreciate that there can be confusion in the general public around how to properly dispose of batteries but we are encouraged so many people want to know how to dispose of their batteries correctly and safely”
The batteries that can be dropped off in the recycling tubes are:
• Nickel Cadmium batteries
• Nickel metal hydride batteries
• Lithium ion batteries (most found catching fire in the landfill)
• Zinc carbon
• Mercury oxide
• Zinc air
• Silver oxide
Large lithium ion batteries which are used in electric cars should be delivered to DEH following consultation with them.
Car and truck batteries should be delivered to the landfill 24 hour drop off on Grand Cayman or at the Cayman Brac landfill during our opening hours.
For more on Battery Recycling Resources visit: www.deh.gov.ky under Recycling to access full list.