CASERMA EDERLE, Italy (October 19, 2018) -- An item disposed of at the Eco Center here ignited Oct. 10 and is thought to have been caused by improper disposal of lithium batteries passing through the recycling shredder.

Once the shredder was stopped and contents were cleared, a small propane cylinder was also discovered. Improper disposal of hazardous waste can cause serious injury to persons and contaminate the environment.

It is extremely important for all military and civilian personnel stationed in the Vicenza and Darby military communities to ensure all hazardous waste is properly identified and properly disposed of. Safety concerns and effects to the environment aside, improper disposal of hazardous waste could cost the Department of Defense enormous fines from the host nation environmental regulators. It is strictly prohibited to dispose of any waste that is flammable, corrosive, toxic or reactive at the Eco Center.

Lithium batteries can ignite, explode or catch fire due to an internal short circuit caused by overheating of cells within the battery.

Propane cylinders are under pressure and can explode due to changes in internal or external pressure. Even when propane cylinders appear to be empty, they still contain pressure and can cause significant physical damage and physical harm to anyone in the area of a cylinder explosion.

Pressurized cylinders can only be classified as empty when the atmospheric pressure inside the cylinder is the same as outside ambient pressure. This is achieved by safely removing the fittings and releasing the inner pressure. This should only be done by certified disposal personnel.

Any battery that cannot be used for its intended purpose is considered recyclable waste.
All military and civilian personnel currently stationed in the Vicenza Military Community can bring used batteries to the DPW Environmental Division Temporary Waste Storage Areas (TWSAs) located at Building 84 on Caserma Ederle and Building 91 on Caserma Del Din. Operating hours are Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. No appointment is necessary. Battery recycling containers are also located throughout VMC.

Propane cylinders that cannot be used for their intended purpose or are no longer needed or wanted because of Permanent Change of Station are considered hazardous waste. All fittings should be intact and in good working order, with valve closed to ensure no leakage. Ensure no severe pitting, exfoliation (separation of metal layers) of the external metal surface are identified as this will decrease the structural integrity of the cylinder.

There is a disposal fee for propane cylinders determined to be hazardous waste, but because of the inherent hazard of a propane cylinder, personnel stationed here can bring used propane cylinders to the aforementioned TWSAs. No appointment is necessary.

For more information, contact Wayne C. Hagwood, CECM/USAG Italy Hazardous Material/Waste Program Manager,; DSN 637-7442 or mobile 348-873-7985; or Alessandro Sallustio, DSN 637-7441.