Battery Recycling Photo by Amanda Wills, Earth911.com
Quick Facts Every year, Americans purchase nearly 3 billion dry-cell batteries and throw out almost 180,000 tons of them (That’s a lot of batteries!) 1,2 Rechargeable batteries are less wasteful than single-use alkaline batteries because they can be recharged up to 1,000 times, last between 2-5 years, and are more easy to recycle 2,4 The 1996 “Battery Act” phased out the use of mercury in alkaline batteries. Because of this, many people are told they can be thrown in with regular trash. However, they still contain dangerous acid and should at least be placed in a plastic bag before going in the trash, if not recycled. 3 1http://earth911.com/news/2010/03/15/the-ultimate-battery-guide/ 2http://earth911.com/news/2010/02/01/single-use-vs-rechargeable/ 3http://earth911.com/news/2010/09/20/your-battery-questions-answered/ 4http://www.call2recycle.org/doc_lib/Educational%20Booklet.pdf
The Plan *https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&chrome=true&srcid=0B8Obbc3Lt_KjYjJmODA3MGQtZjNlOS00MTkyLWE2YTctYTE1NGM4NmUzNDMy&hl=en&authkey=COHap4sJ https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&chrome=true&srcid=0B8Obbc3Lt_KjNjRiNWE0OWEtZTEzOC00OTk3LWFjOTAtNDlhMzllYzc3ZTdj&hl=en&authkey=CLr_jYAB
The Execution Each day, I collected the batteries from their respective boxes and recorded the total number for that day. In addition to those collected from the boxes, I personally collected batteries from my family, friends, and my own house. I recorded these numbers separately before combining them with those collected from the boxes. At the end of each week, I added everything up for a weekly total, and then delivered all of the batteries to the local landfill, which also serves as an ABOP [Antifreeze, Batteries, Oil, Paint] site.
The Conclusion While the project resulted in a weekly average of only 5 batteries per week, that is still 30 less batteries that will end up in our landfill. Also, the distribution of the informative flyers, hard-to-find information on how and where to recycle such items has increased within the community, if only a small amount. WITH OUR POWERS COMBINED…. I am optimistic that even this small amount of gained knowledge will grow into something much larger and much better for our world.
Want to know more? Information for The City of Tucson Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Program can be found on the Environmental Services website (http://cms3.tucsonaz.gov/es/household_hazardous_waste) If you do not live in Tucson, I recommend checking your own state or city government’s website. The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality’s website (http://www.azdeq.gov/) has some good information, though I was not able to find any on Hazardous Waste programs in the state. You can also try one of these other, and very helpful websites….
http://earth911.com/ “Earth911.com is a privately owned, for-profit company that specializes in providing consumers with accessible and actionable recycling information across the country.” Along with an extensive and searchable directory of recycling locations across the country, Earth911 contains an extensive amount of informative articles for just about every recyclable thing you can think of! Check out their battery information pages: Rechargeable Batteries (http://earth911.com/recycling/hazardous/rechargeable-batteries/) Single-use Batteries (http://earth911.com/recycling/hazardous/single-use-batteries/)
http://www.call2recycle.org/ “Call2Recycle® is the only free rechargeable battery and cell phone collection program in North America. Since 1994, Call2Recycle has diverted over 60 million pounds of rechargeable batteries from the solid waste stream and established a network of 30,000 collection sites.” In addition to their free recycling program, Call2Recycle provides information on battery recycling in general, laws and regulations, and a searchable database of drop-off locations to take your batteries to. Take their Green IQ Quiz (http://www.call2recycle.org/green-iq-quiz.php?c=1&d=322&e=417&f=418&w=9&r=Y) Or, find out How the Call2Recycle Program Works (http://www.call2recycle.org/how-program-works.php?c=1&d=366&e=367&w=2&r=Y).
http://epa.gov/ “The mission of EPA is to protect human health and the environment.” As you might expect, the EPA website has a plethora of information for everyone, including: Informative Podcasts (http://www.epa.gov/epahome/podcasts.htm) The EPA for Concerned Citizenspage(http://www.epa.gov/epahome/citizen.htm) And the MyEnvironment search application (http://www.epa.gov/myenvironment/), which gives environmental information for the location you enter.