Fires Continue to Threaten Recycling Center

CINCINNATI – Oct. 3, 2016 – Since the beginning of the year, local fire departments have responded to six fires at Rumpke’s Cincinnati Recycling Facility in St. Bernard. The cause is likely something that many residents continue to toss into recycling containers – lithium ion batteries.

Lithium ion batteries are used in many applications including cell phones, cameras, lap tops and power tools. If the battery breaks, it becomes a fire hazard.

“Our customers want to recycle these materials. However, Rumpke isn’t set up to take batteries,” said Brad Dunn, Recycling Manager, Rumpke. “We can’t effectively separate batteries from the 1.5 million pounds of other material we process daily. But the real concern is we can’t prevent them from breaking in the recycling process, which can then cause fires. There are several recycling options for batteries; however, curbside collection and community recycling boxes aren’t the right way to recycle this material.”

Dunn points out that several retailers, including electronic and home improvement stores, offer battery recycling options. While lithium ion batteries pose the greatest risk, batteries of any kind should not be placed in your Rumpke recycling container.

Dunn is understandably cautious about flammable material entering the recycling center. His previous recycling plant was destroyed by a fire in April 2012. He doesn’t want Rumpke’s new $32 million facility to meet the same fate.

“We want people to recycle,” said Dunn. “We want to make recycling easy, accessible and affordable. But we do have to set some parameters to ensure the safety of our employees and the plant as well as make sure the material received can be recycled  We encourage our customers to review and follow our acceptable item list and ask us questions if they’re unsure if something can be recycled.”

Rumpke accepts the following items for recycling:

  • Plastic bottles and jugs (please empty, flatten and reattach the lid)
  • Cartons
  • Glass bottles and jars (any color)
  • Aluminum and steel cans
  • Empty aerosol cans (with lids and tips removed)
  • Paperboard (cereal boxes, 12-pack containers, etc.)
  • Cardboard
  • A variety of paper products, including:
  • Office paper
  • Newspaper
  • Magazines
  • Junk mail and envelopes (with or without windows)
  • Telephone books
  • Paper grocery bags

Rumpke keeps a list of recyclables on its website, Rumpke also encourages customers to tour its recycling facility to learn more about the recycling process. For tour information, email

Rumpke Waste & Recycling has been committed to keeping neighborhoods and businesses clean and green since 1932 by providing environmentally friendly waste disposal solutions. Headquartered in Colerain Township, Ohio, Rumpke is one of the nation’s largest privately owned residential and commercial waste and recycling firms, providing service to areas of Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and West Virginia. Rumpke divisions include Rumpke Recycling, Rumpke Portable Restrooms, The William-Thomas Group, Rumpke Hydraulics and Rumpke Haul-it-Away. Please visit for more information.


Molly Yeager 

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