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Ask Charlie | May 21, 2010

Q: What do I do with my household batteries? - SHORELINE


A: Dear Shirley,

From flashlights to cell phones to hybrid cars, battery power has become an everyday essential for most Americans. Annually, more than three billion household batteries are sold in the United States, producing more than 125,000 tons of waste. Many batteries still contain toxic materials such as mercury and cadmium, which pose a threat to human health and the environment if not disposed of properly.

Here are some guidelines to help you identify and dispose of household batteries in Shoreline:

Single-use Batteries:

Alkaline, AA, AAA, C, D, 9v
Common Uses: Flashlights, toys, remotes, and portable electronic devices.

In response to environmental concerns, manufacturers have eliminated over 98% of the mercury previously used in batteries. Alkaline batteries are now considered a low environmental risk and may be disposed of in the garbage.

All household batteries may also be taken to the collection bins at the following locations and recycled for free:

When batteries are recycled heavy metals are recovered and plastics can be reused.  Household batteries are not allowed in your curbside recycling container.

 

Button Batteries: 

Mercury, zinc, silver oxide
Common Uses: Watches, hearing aids, digital thermometers, calculators.

These small, round button shaped batteries contain hazardous materials and are not allowed in the garbage. You can bring them to the Aurora Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facility at 12550 Stone Ave N, Seattle 98133. For hours of operation and to hear when the Wastemobile will be in Shoreline, please call 206.296.4692. This is a free service for residents.

Ask about recycling where you shop – your local jeweler, pharmacy or hearing aid retailer may accept batteries for recycling.

 

Rechargeable Batteries:

Nickel cadmium, nickel metal hydride, lithium ion
Common Uses: Cell phones, laptops, cordless tools, digital cameras, remote controlled toys

If it’s rechargeable, it recyclable! Visit Call2Recycle.org or call 1.800.BATTERY to find a free drop off location near you. Rechargeable batteries may also be taken to your local HHW Facility.

Take it Back Network recyclers accept rechargeable batteries as well as cell phones, laptop computers, and various other household electronics.

 

Motor Vehicle Batteries:

Wet-cell, lead & sulfuric acid

Car batteries contain hazardous waste and must be recycled.

According to the EPA, over 90% of lead-acid batteries are recycled. Most states require all motor vehicle battery retailers to accept spent batteries back for recycling. Thanks to these programs, typical lead-acid batteries contain 60% - 80% recycled material.

Your local HHW Facility will accept old car batteries, as do most auto parts stores. Visit King County’s What Do I Do With…? directory or call 206.296.4692 for a complete listing of recycling options.

 

Mail-Back Programs:

Businesses, schools, and households can take advantage of convenient mail-in battery recycling programs. These programs allow you to collect batteries over time and send them in all at once. You can purchase recycling kits from businesses such as Battery Solutions and Big Green Box. Recycling kits typically include a collection box or pail and prepaid shipping.

Recently, concerns over safety risks associated with transporting spent batteries has resulted in more stringent government regulation. Safely ship your batteries by following all packing and shipping instructions.

 

Reducing Battery Waste:

Purchase batteries with fewer hazardous components, such as zinc-air batteries instead of mercury buttons.
Buy reusable batteries. After the initial investment in batteries and charger, rechargeable batteries will be much less expensive than repeatedly purchasing single-use batteries. The latest NiMH rechargeable batteries are charged and ready to use, right out of the package and hold their charge much longer than traditional rechargeable batteries.

 

ReSources: Earth911.com | Battery Solutions | Environmental Protection Agency Battery Stewardship Program | Universal Waste Environmental Fact Sheet | King County Battery Recycle Locator | Seattle Times EcoConsumer | Recoverable Resources/Boro Bronx 2000, Inc. 


batteries  shoreline  recycling 

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