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When it comes to the subject of recycling, I don’t know about you, but I usually think of recycling aluminum cans, recycling plastic bottles/bags, recycling clothes by donating them rather than throwing them away, etc. One thing I don’t always think about is recycling batteries.
I’m not just talking about car batteries here, I’m taking about household batteries. Apparently about three billion batteries are sold annually in the U.S. alone, which averages about 32 per family or 10 per person. But did you know that the average person throws out 8 household batteries per year? I didn’t say recycle….I said throw out.
Batteries contain heavy metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium, etc which can contaminate the environment when improperly disposed of. In landfills, batteries have been know to slowly leak into soil, groundwater or even into surface water. Per Environment, Health and Safety Online (www.ehso.com) dry cell batteries (including 9-volt, D, C, AA, AAA, etc) are reported to contribute about 88% of the total mercury and 50% of the cadmium in the municipal solid waste stream.
That’s a lot of pollution created from improperly disposed of batteries. But here’s the question…where can you dispose of these batteries? In California, as of Feb 2006, all batteries are supposed to be taken to either a recycling center, household hazardous waste disposal facility or a univeral waste handler. If you don’t know where to find one of these centers near you, go to your state’s website and look under Hazardous Waste.
So while you’re trying to do your part for the environment by buying local and organic foods, using a proven fuel additive to reduce your car’s harmful emissions and by recycling your bottles and cans…don’t forget to properly recycle or dispose of your batteries. It’s another simple step that makes a world of difference.