With over 15 billion batteries sold in North America every year, we do not wish to be reminded of the ugly sight of that many batteries falling into landfills, to be buried with other trash. It makes more sense to
- Use fewer batteries by recharging when possible, particularly in the case of ordinary alkaline batteries.
- Save used batteries in containers, to be taken to nearby recycling depots.
- Collect used batteries to take to hazardous material collection locations.
- Pay attention to the proper disposal of the types that cause the most environmental damage: Nickel-cadmium batteries and lead-acid batteries.
- Make use of plants specifically designed for the purpose to recycle metals and other materials used in batteries.
Lead-acid batteries used in automobiles and motorcycles are easy to identify by their size and weight and unique heavy metal terminal lugs. Lead-acid batteries are also found in burglar alarms, computer power supplies as sources of uninterrupted power during blackouts, and emergency lighting units. The batteries are almost always properly labeled so you can determine what type of battery they are. Nickel-cadmium batteries, on the other hand, are not always labeled as such. They are most often found in portable telephones in the home, in razors, in electric drills and power tools. When in doubt, treat the battery as hazardous and take it to a center capable of proper disposal.
If you want to know what the Rechargeable Battery Recyling Corporation does with the materials recovered, visit INMETCO Recycling Services. the only facility in North America that provides thermal recovery for nickel-cadmium batteries. They even do carbon-zinc batteries.
Radio Shack stores offer battery collection services for their customers. At some stores they have rebuilding facilities to replace rechargeable batteries in power tools with the proper built-in units. For the store nearest you, contact Radio Shack USA, or in Canada, The Source at Circuit City
To find the dates of the next hazardous materials pickup in your area, contact your municipal government offices.