Rumpke: Batteries improperly placed in trash continue to cause fires for trucks, facilities

Rumpke said batteries are continuing to cause fires.
Rumpke said batteries are continuing to cause fires.(Cincinnati Enquirer file/Sam Greene)
Published: May. 12, 2022 at 11:48 AM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - Rumpke said they have experienced more than 60 fire events in Greater Cincinnati since January.

They said the cause for the majority of these incidents are batteries and other flammable items improperly placed in trash and recycling containers.

“We are understandably nervous,” Cincinnati Recycling Facility Manager Brad Dunn said in a news release. “Our recycling facility was destroyed in a fire in 2012, and we are trying to ensure our current facility doesn’t meet the same fate.”

However, this week alone, the company said Rumpke’s Cincinnati Recycling Facility has experienced nine small fires from batteries.

“We are working to improve our processes at the plant to catch batteries before they cause major damage; however, we need help preventing these items from coming into the facility.” Dunn said.

Batteries aren’t accepted in Rumpke’s recycling program – and only alkaline batteries can be placed in the trash.

“Millions of people depend on our recycling facility to process their material,” Dunn said. “If we would lose this facility, it could prevent many communities and businesses from being able to recycle.”

In addition to the hazard batteries cause at the recycling facility, they said they also pose a danger to Rumpke drivers, trucks and the motoring public.

“The danger actually starts when the collection truck compacts the material,” Region Safety Manager Kendra Catherman said in the release. “When a battery is compacted it can ignite, causing vehicle fires. These have become an almost weekly occurrence for our team to contend with.”

For a list of items that should not be placed curbside with trash as well as a list of items that Rumpke accepts in recycling, visit

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