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Experts Explain the Dangers of Mishandling Batteries

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) - Most of us try our best to do it, but how do we know if we're really doing it right? There's a rhythm to recycling household electronics.

"We collect household electronics, televisions, computer monitors, hard drives, tablets, cell phones, laptops, and any electronics that have a rechargeable battery that cannot be removed from the device," said Stephanie Watson with Recycling and Outreach in Pinellas County.

Anyone can do it, but you should start by knowing what not to bring first, such as vacuums, microwaves, and toasters. If it has a rechargeable battery attached, avoid dumping it at all. Take those to drop off locations or send it back to the manufacturer.

"It can create a danger for workers, equipment and buildings," said Watson. "If rechargeable batteries are compressed, they can cause an explosion. We ask you to consider gifting those. We have a 'Where does it go' search tool that can connect residents for gifting , donations, reuse, recycling location. There's online take back programs that may buy your used electronics."

And thanks to new tech, some of your old tech will soon become energy in Pinellas County.

"As of October 1st, 2022, we're no longer going to send the household electronics to a private recycler. Private recyclers are more likely to send those to a landfill," explained Watson. "In Pinellas County we have a waste-to-energy facility. At our facility we can burn those hard-to-recycle plastics and recover the energy from them."

"The Department of Solid Waste's Household Electronics and Chemical Collection (HEC3) program will continue to collect household electronics. However, household electronics will not be sent to a private recycler to be recycled. The majority of household electronics consist of hard plastic casings, which are more likely to be sent from a private recycler to a landfill. The primary recyclable material in household electronics are metals, which our department can recover at our Waste-to-Energy Facility and then recycle," county officials said in a statement.

You can find more information via the Where Does It Go? Search Tool and the E-waste Program Change landing page

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