15 fires, 1 blame: Trash can no-no’s

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A rash of fires in the back of Rumpke’s trucks recently have one cause: Dangerous and combustible items put into trash cans. (Photo from Rumpke Waste & Recycling)

Rumpke reminders: What can, can’t go into garbage, recycling bins 

COVINGTON, Ky. - The Rumpke garbage truck that caught fire across the Ohio River in Oakley on Monday makes the 15th such fire in Greater Cincinnati just since June 1.
The cause is a familiar one: Property owners putting dangerous and combustible items in their trash and recycling containers.
“It’s clearly a problem that people don’t know what can or can’t go into their trash cans,” said Molly Yeager, corporate communications manager for Rumpke Waste & Recycling. “It definitely has repercussions.”
The truck fires - all of which occurred in the “load” area of the trucks - aren’t the only repercussion. Fires caused by non-allowable items heavily damaged Rumpke’s recycling facility last October, shutting it down for a few days, and completely destroyed the facility in 2012.
The company - with help from local governments like Covington, for which the company provides service - are reminding customers that certain items should not be put into trash or recycling bins, including: 
  • Batteries.
  • Propane tanks.
  • Charcoal or fireplace embers.
  • Pool chemicals.
  • Cleaning products.
  • Full aerosol cans.
  • Paint.
  • Combustible or hazardous materials. 
“If you see the ‘flammable’ symbol on the container, that’s your sign right there that it doesn’t belong in the trash can,” Yeager said.
Yeager said the fires have become more frequent with the amount of trash increasing during the pandemic.

(Photo from Rumpke).

For guidelines from Rumpke, see HERE.
Sheila Fields, Solid Waste & Recycling Coordinator in the City’s Neighborhood Services Department, said there are several options to safely dispose of the hazardous waste produced in households.
She advised residents to check out the Northern Kentucky Household Hazardous Waste Action Coalition website for more information about disposal methods, HERE, and to mark their calendars for hazardous waste collection event scheduled for Nov. 7. Information on that event can be HERE.
“With just a little effort, people can get rid of potentially dangerous stuff in ways that protect the environment and people’s health and safety,” Fields said.
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