Safe battery disposal reminders

Published 8:56 pm Saturday, June 24, 2023

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We want to share an incident that happened this week because it is a critical and real concern that CAN HAPPEN IN YOUR COMMUNITY!  In St. Tammany Parish, a sanitation driver experienced a “hot load”. A hot load is when a truckload of recyclables or trash catches fire, smolders, spontaneously combusts, or becomes toxic as a result of incompatible waste mixing inside a collection truck. It can potentially jeopardize the health and safety of the driver of the collection truck, as well as the public.

It is very dangerous when residents throw batteries and other flammable materials in the garbage. In this case, two small batteries caused the trash in the truck to catch fire. The driver was very alert and was able to eject the load prior to the truck catching fire. None of the team members were injured.

Help keep our sanitation workers safe and your own homes and families safe from battery fire dangers with the below tips:


  • Keep batteries in original packaging until you are ready to use them. If loose, keep the posts covered with masking, duct, or electrical tape. Prevent the posts from coming in contact with metal objects.
  • Keep them someplace safe where they won’t be

tossed around.

  • Store batteries standing up.
  • 9-volt batteries should not be stored loose in a drawer.
  • Do not store them in containers with other batteries.
  • 9-volt batteries should not be thrown away with trash.
  • They can come in contact with other batteries or pieces of metal.
  • 9-volt batteries can be taken to a collection site for household hazardous waste.
  • To be safe, cover the positive and negative posts with masking, duct, or electrical tape before getting rid of batteries.
  • Some states do not allow any type of battery to be disposed of with trash. Check with your city or town for the best way to get rid of batteries.


Ashley Rodrigue is the Public Affairs Director for the State Fire Marshal’s Office.