I ran across an article today on Earthtimes.org that said the US would be recycling all batteries in a volunteer program as of Spring 2013.
I was shocked. I had no idea that most people weren’t already recycling all their batteries whether they be disposable or rechargeable. In our house we have a special shelf for recyclables that can’t go into our ordinary bluebox like batteries (we have a small buckets to save them in) lightbulbs, electronics, or things like old paint.
When Mom or Dad is going to be going by an Eco Station or another place that collects something for recycling, they just have to grab whatever is on the shelf that can go.
My Mom only lets us use rechargeable batteries. They are more expensive to buy up front, but they last for several years and can take several hundred charges before you need to recycle them. That means in the long run, they are way, WAY cheaper to use, which gets my Dad’s thumbs up. We have a couple of charging stations that always have batteries ready to go, so we can just help ourselves whenever we need a fresh battery and put the old one on the charger.
It would be great if everyone would switch to rechargeable batteries and that would really reduce the number of batteries that would need to be manufactured and also the number that would need to be recycled.
Because I had never really thought about it before, I did a little research. Did you know that there are over 3 BILLION batteries sold in the US each year? In 1996, the amount of mercury was reduced in the manufacture of alkaline batteries and people were told just to toss them in the garbage. Right now, most of the batteries produced are just being thrown away!
Well, not any more! There is a product stewardship program which is being funded by the battery and product manufacturing industry. It is called Call2Recycle. (Just so you know, I’ve asked our webmaster to put links to both the Canadian and US version up in our resources menu under links, but you can also just change your area in the top right hand corner of either site.)
Recycling a battery rather than throwing it away saves a lot of resources that can be simply reused instead of mined. It’s the same concept as the life of an aluminum can if you make it from scratch or make it from recycled aluminum.
These websites are both fantastic! Right on their homepage you can input your zip code, postal code or city and they will tell you all the places close to you that will collect all your batteries. In my city there are lots of places that take them that I had no idea about! Chain stores like Canadian Tire, London Drugs, Future Shop, Staples, Superstore, Rona, Lowes and Home Depot. There’s got to be one of those places close by to nearly everyone!
The site also lists all of the other individual participating businesses and organizations close to you. If they can make the effort to become recycling depots for the batteries, the least we can do it make use of them and recycle our batteries rather than throw them away!