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Here's why you should not throw out your lithium batteries

Mecklenburg County leaders say the county has seen recent fires at their waste facilities from rechargeable lithium batteries.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Mecklenburg County government is sending out a warning: do not throw out rechargeable lithium batteries.

Those batteries are in things like your smartphone, laptop, and even some power tools.

The county said they saw five small fires in just one week at their waste facilities. They said at least one was caused by an old cell phone, another was caused by a remote-control toy. 

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So what makes these batteries so dangerous? There are a few reasons. Let's connect the dots. 

First, when you throw them away, they get bumped around as they move through the dump. If a rechargeable battery gets damaged, that stored-up energy inside can spark. That causes a fire or even an explosion.

Experts say those can also be especially hard to put out because of gases released by the battery. 

So if you get an upgrade this holiday season, what do you do with your old devices? Officials are asking you to take the batteries out before you toss them. 

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Mecklenburg County says you can take them to your local full-service drop-off center

Those sites are: 


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