Did you know you're not supposed to put lithium batteries in the trash, recycling, nor down the toilet? Well, some Catskill Middle School students sure weren't aware and are facing serious charges because of it. Apparently, you're supposed to dispose of lithium batteries in a very specific way:

Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries and devices containing these batteries should not go in household garbage or recycling bins. They can cause fires during transport or at landfills and recyclers. Instead, Li-ion batteries should be taken to separate recycling or household hazardous waste collection points. -United States Environmental Protection Agency, epa.gov

What Happens When You Mix Lithium and Water?

As you can see, lithium and water do not mix well. So as you can imagine, things did not end well when three Catskill middle schoolers put lithium from batteries down one of the school toilets. Two of the students are 12 years old while the third is 13. Not only did they damage the toilet, but it caused a chemical reaction that released toxic fumes. The Catskill Fire Department came after hearing reports of smoke in a bathroom at the middle school (WRGB Staff, cbs6albany.com).

Lithium reacts intensely with water, forming lithium hydroxide and highly flammable hydrogen. The colourless solution is highly alkalic. -Brownell Limited, Brownell.co.uk

Auguras Pipiras via Unsplash (Canva)
Auguras Pipiras via Unsplash (Canva)

Sadly, this one misjudgement caused the three students to be "arrested, charged with arson, criminal mischief, conspiracy, reckless endangerment and unlawful possession of a noxious material" (WRGB Staff, cbs6albany.com).

If you want to avoid making a mistake like this and need help figuring out how to throw away something potentially hazardous, use Earth 911's handy recycling tool. Simply put in your search parameters and they'll tell you exactly what you should do.

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Explore the Abandoned Middle School at Albany's Kenwood Convent

This abandoned property is part of the Kenwood Convent complex in Albany. If it's the same story as the rest of the property, it's been vacant since 2009. There have been some ownership changes and it appears there is still power in parts of the building. As with the convent, it also looks like work was being done by construction crews to clean out and/or restore the building, but that has since stopped (as of the 2020 date of these photos).

The Albany Business Review says the county was about to hold an auction for the property, but its current owners filed bankruptcy two days prior - putting a hold on any further development or sale of the site.

As we can see from the photo tour, there is some magnificent architecture, window frames, even old murals on the wall depicting the a journey down the Hudson River from the City of Albany to New York City.

The most recent relics are some tools, ladders and construction equipment left at the scene, but there are some other pretty cool finds including an early flat screen TV, some antique door & window frames and a pool table in near perfect condition.

Remarkably, this is one of those abandoned places that has gone relatively untouched by vandals and graffiti artists. Let's hope it stays that way until a new use for the property can be determined. For now, it sits in legal limbo waiting to be renovated and rehabbed. Enjoy the tour!