Up in Smoke: Cell Phones Thrown in the Trash Are Blowing Up in Garbage Trucks

Garbage trucks are turning into veritable fire chariots as batteries from phones and laptops turn to blazing fires inside.

What do you do when you get done with an old phone and upgrade to the latest iPhone or Samsung or whichever phone is pining for your attention? Some people decide to throw them in the trash, which in turn gets picked up by garbage trucks. Well, those garbage trucks are now exploding as the cell phones chucked into the waste collection are bursting into flames.


Think Before You Toss

USA Today is reporting that makers of lithium-ion batteries that power up our phones, laptops, and power tools are urging users to not chuck these bad boys into the trash which get picked up by garbage trucks. According to the article, waste trucks have been lighting on fire as cell phones are starting to light up inside, causing 65% of waste facility fires in California alone.

The problem has gotten so big in California that the state has launched a campaign to try to get people to stop tossing their cellular devices in the trash. Across the country in Queens, New York, this past March, a five-alarm fire was started at a recycling facility because a single battery went crazy and burned up. It took two days to contain the flames.

According to Call2Recycle, Americans use about 175 million pounds of lithium-ion batteries in devices. That represents the possibility of a ton of garbage trucks being lit to rolling blazes like an Escape from L.A. remake. Last year, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7s made headlines by burning up into tiny flames out of nowhere, giving users a literal wake-up call. Even if the batteries are dead or unusable, they can still pack a punch and burst into flames.

NEXT: Truck Crash Compilation Proves Why Some Driver's Shouldn't Have Licenses