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Quit Chucking Around

What is up humans? Chuck checking in here with a little Safety convo.

A lot of talk in this industry is about PPE or backing safety, whether to Bluetooth or not in the field. That stuff is great and all, and we can talk about those things from time to time. But today I want to talk about something else. If you meet me at the WIRMC or elsewhere you will know that I am a good listener, matter of fact I rarely interrupt or turn the conversation about myself. Some people say that I am a little socially awkward, but I am a man of few words. I don’t like to talk too much, but batteries are worth talking about.


Lithium and Rechargeable batteries y’all, let’s talk about 'em. I have a love-hate relationship with them, they power my Tesla’s which I love, are great in my toothbrush, and help me run a professional aerial photography business with my drone. My brother has these high energy density batteries in his cell phone, vape and earpods, I just look up to him so much! I mean he does work at a Big and Tall store that sells flannels and stocking hats but he really hip and fresh, he gets it. I was shopping online the other day and I saw everything was lithium powered! Watches, flashlights, defibrillators, hair trimmers, subdermal RFID tags, etc. These are just a few examples of things we use every day.


These things are great and makes life easier as I don’t have to stop to charge my stuff, I can rock and roll til the wee hours of the night. Allowing me to walk in the dark, trim my beard in the dark, checking my heart rate and tell time in the dark. The problem isn’t everyday use of these objects, they are only problematic when they get tossed, when we are done with them and we cannot be bothered to recycle those tiny little power packed energy cubes. I used to just toss em in the garbage cause it was easy. I mean I didn’t see where they went, they were gone and I could go about my business.


Everything was good and well for me until my friends in the Solid Waste industry started to see the bad effects of crushed and burning batteries. They seem to be really good at creating compact but hot fires that can reach up to 2000 degrees C! That’s almost 3632 degrees F! These small fires take place in garbage cans, collection trucks, transfer facilities, MRF’s and landfills. Last year it was a Transfer Station that burnt down, two fires at landfills in central Wisconsin alone. These fires cause damage in the millions when paired with plastics, chemicals or flammable objects.


That’s why I have decided to chat about the battery problems, my friends in the industry and the Badger Chapter Safety Committee would like to work on a solution to reduce the fire dangers of lithium and rechargeable batteries. We are hoping to bring awareness to the frequency of these fires with the hope of creating a landfill ban on these batteries and start the process in preventing and hopefully recycling this resource.

The Badger Chapter Safety Committee meets monthly every third Wednesday of the month from 10am to 11am. I promise you I am the only dummy on the committee and we can use more smart minds like YP’s. We are always looking for additional members who want to make a difference, if you are interested in being a part of the committee please contact Eric Olson at eric.olson@co.marathon.wi.us or Erik Lietz at erik@oakridgeeng.com.


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