How many times have you thrown out "dead" batteries or battery-powered devices? Well did you know doing just that could lead to some serious fires, environmental pollution, and risk the safety of our local workers?

According to a press release from the Dubuque Metropolitan Area Solid Waste Agency, rechargeable batteries have become an issue for the local recycling centers. Early this year the Wisconsin DNR issued statements about severe damage and fires due to battery explosions at recycling centers across the state, and now it seems those same issues have come to Dubuque.

man throws batteries in the trash. battery recycling. view from the trash can
Credit: Elena Gurova

According to the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC), consumers use an average of six wireless products in their daily lives with cell phones and cordless power tools topping the list. This adds up to a considerable waste stream issue when the batteries or the products they are embedded in need to be replaced. The batteries also pose a significant fire risk to solid waste vehicles and solid waste and recycling facilities when they are disposed of improperly.

Mobile phone portable battery recharging a smartphone
Credit: adrian825

According to past reports, there have been damaging fires at multiple Wisconsin recycling facilities. While it can be hard to pinpoint the cause of each fire, many batteries, specifically powerful lithium-ion batteries, can cause fires when not disposed of properly. These batteries hold a considerable charge even when they no longer provide enough energy to power the device they are held in. When they become damaged, sparks can be released. Additionally, the simple process of overheating can cause flammable materials next to the battery to burst into flames.

Lithium Ion Battery Explosions Soar Across The U.S.
Credit: Getty Images
New York Fire officials and others gather outside of a Bronx supermarket the day after a 5-alarm fire tore through a market that fire officials are blaming on a faulty lithium-ion battery on March 06, 2023 in New York City. While there were no fatalities in the blaze, numerous people were injured and it took approximately 200 firefighters to bring the fire under control. Fires from these batteries, which are increasingly used in scooters and bicycles, are increasing in number across the nation. The FDNY responded to dozens of such fires last year alone as the devices become popular for both work and recreation.

The Dubuque Metropolitan Area Solid Waste Agency (DMASWA) is reminding everyone to recycle all batteries and battery-containing devices. Recycling batteries and battery-containing devices conserve natural resources by recovering valuable metals, reduces the risks from improper disposal, and protects our local community by eliminating materials that can contaminate waterways and land resources.

Wastewater, sewage
Credit: Armastas

Batteries and battery-containing devices should never be placed in your recycling bin or household trash. Several locations, including the Regional Collection Center located at the landfill, accept batteries and battery-containing devices. For a complete list of sites and more information, go to or call 563-557-8220. More details on recycling batteries in the state of Iowa can be found here.

Northeast Iowa Goodwill Stores Will Not Accept These 10 Items

A list of items Goodwill in Dubuque and the surrounding areas will NOT accept.

Photos: Dubuque Farmers Market 2023

Take a trip through the Dubuque's Farmers Market

The Dubuque Arboretum & Botanical Gardens

A stroll through the Dubuque Arboretum & Botanical Gardens in Early Spring

More From Eagle 102.3