TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10)- A fire in a garbage truck could have been avoided last week, said Troy City Hall’s Recycling and Resource Management Department. They said large rechargeable batteries were thrown out causing a fire which then had to be put out by firefighters.

It’s illegal for rechargeable batteries to be thrown out, according to the states Rechargeable Battery Law. Disposing of them properly is the law but it can also help avoid situations like the one that happened last week, the Department said.

“Help us avoid what happened this morning, when large rechargeable batteries were thrown out with household trash causing a fire in a city garbage truck,” they said in a Facebook post Friday. “If batteries are handled correctly, we can avoid situations like the one pictured here!”

One picture on the post shows a large pile of trash on fire that appears to have been dumped by the Department of Public Works employee that had been driving the truck. The second picture shows two fire fighters spraying the garbage pile with water to put the fire out. NEWS10 reached out to the city to get more information but did not get a response.

Not only can batteries cause a fire if they are thrown out, but they are also bad for the environment. Batteries can leak, contaminate groundwater, damage ecosystems, and can also end up in the food chain, according to Consumer Reports.

Anything that is toxic, corrosive, ignitable, or reactive is considered hazardous household waste, the Environmental Protection Agency said. The following are some examples of everyday items that shouldn’t get thrown away:

  • motor oil
  • automobile batteries
  • paints and solvents
  • household cleaners
  • drain openers
  • pesticides
  • compressed gas tanks (such as propane and oxygen)

For the past couple of years, the city has held events where Troy residents can dispose of household hazardous waste. The Recycling and Resource Management Department suggests residents check for locations to recycle batteries online. The city has not announced any upcoming hazardous household waste collection events.