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Proper hazardous waste disposal, explained by Marborg Industries

Paint thinner, anti-freeze and hot ashes can all be categorized as hazardous waste, but an overlooked, common household item has proven to be the most dangerous.

Batteries -- Used to power smart phones, tablets, hearing aids, and toys have become fuel for garbage fires.

"Just because something is no longer usable does not mean it's trash," said Brian Borgatello of Marborg Industries,"We have had several truck fires due to ashes and batteries."

The city of Santa Barbara has facilities where anyone can recycle hazardous waste.
One of them may sound familiar to city residents… Marborg industries' downtown ABOP recycling center, What they accept is right in their name -- Antifreeze, Batteries, Oil, and Paint.

"At Marborg we have facilities where you can drop that off at no charge, and we also have programs where we come and pick those up.
Batteries for example, you bag em up and put them on top of the recycling bin -- and we pick those up at no charge," said Borgatello.

Trash truck fires are not a rarity in California. In 2018 -- a survey found that more than half of reported fires over a two year span, were caused by batteries.

The same could be said for trash fires in Santa Barbara. That includes a smoldering load that was dumped at Earl Warren Showgrounds in November. Another that burst into flames on in March of 2017.

And a burning trash load was to blame for the start of an 800-acre wildfire that killed at least one person in San Bernardino County.

Borgatello explains, why trash truck fires are so dangerous, "The fires when they start in our trucks it also creates a huge liability-- and creates a great risk. Several of our trucks are ran on CNG gas, and they have large fuel tanks. That's just a bad combination when all that catches on fire so-- We're asking everyone to do the right thing and properly dispose of batteries and hot ashes. "

Marborg isn't the only place to recycle hazardous waste, The Community Hazardous Waste Collection Center at UCSB is open on most weekends to Santa Barbara residents.

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Sarah Maugaotega

Sarah Maugaotega is a producer at KEYT|KCOY|KKFX.