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Batteries, bear spray incidents at transfer station highlight safety concerns

JACKSON, Wyo. — A literal dumpster fire (one not involving national politics in any way) and a discharged bear spray canister that sent two employees home with eyes burning, has prompted folks at the transfer station to urge citizens to take better care about what they are throwing away and recycling.

Teton County Integrated Solid Waste and Recycling is reminding the public about proper disposal of batteries and bear spray.

“Please remember the human element of recycling and trash in Teton County. Recycling Center staff work very closely with every piece of material that comes to the facility, and some can be very dangerous,” says Teton County ISWR’s superintendent, Brenda Ashworth.

Batteries of any kind should be recycled at the Recycling Center at 3270 S. Adams Canyon Road. Lithium batteries are banned from the landfill and pose an extreme fire risk when exposed to water, heat, or pressure.

A recent fire at the Trash Transfer Station that was put out recently, only to reignite hours later in the middle of the night. The fire is thought to be the result of a lithium battery.

“We are all extremely grateful to the Jackson Fire Department and Yellow Iron’s quick response,” Ashworth said.

In another incident, batteries were found in office paper recycling—a dangerous situation that was caught before the batteries entered a baler and would have likely resulted in a fire.

Bear spray is another product banned from the landfill. It should be brought to the Recycling Center at 3270 S. Adams Canyon Road.

Recently, a bear spray canister was found in the glass bin after it discharged while staff was unloading the bin. A shard of glass punctured the canister, causing it to spray contents on three employees, two of which had to be sent home after being injured.

Bear spray should be dropped off in designated red bins located to the left of the office door under the awning. Trigger guards must be in place for drop-off. Please check-in with staff if a trigger guard is needed.

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