Inspectors didn’t identify what chemical prompted an evacuation at the recycling facility of the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation. Earlier this week, the agency shut down its recycling facility, after workers reported smoke coming from the sorting line.
Gary Maddocks, chief of security at the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation, reported thirteen workers taken to the hospital for chemical exposures are all well. He said workers do their best to sort and remove anything that doesn’t belong in the recycling facility to prevent such incidents.
“But it's extremely important that all Rhode islanders make sure they only put material in their bins that are recyclable,” he said. “You wouldn’t want to put any chemicals in there. You wouldn’t' want to put anything in there that's hazardous in there that would potentially harm one of our workers here.”
The recycling facility reopened later that day after the incident.
Maddocks reminds people to follow recycling guidelines and properly dispose of hazardous chemicals. He said residents play an important role in preventing such incidents in the future, by keeping chemicals out of trash and recycling bins. People can throw away hazardous chemicals for free and by appointment only at the waste agency’s Eco Depot.