Most people are aware that there are certain items that are volatile and should not be included in their regular trash. These items include but are not limited to:
- Paint cans and spray bombs
- Chemical containers
In all honesty though, each year these items end up in landfills anyways. There are many reasons for this, some may say laziness, but there is an accessibility issue for these programs.
Most recycling programs for batteries and such do not offer curbside pickup, they require people to drive to a location to drop off goods–some even require a fee. Let’s be real for a second, most people do not want to drive and then pay someone to take their refuse when they could just toss it in the bag and set it by the curb.
What’s the big deal?
Batteries contain mercury lead and cadmium, three very toxic chemicals. Although, the amount in one battery may not seem like much, picture the pollution that could be caused by everyone taking that attitude…rest assured you are probably not the only one thinking that “it’s just one battery”. Over time the batteries corrode and break down and the chemicals contained within them are released into the ground and the water table where it then proceeds to take a toll on animal and even our food sources over time.
What can we strive for?
Ideally there would be an accessible means for people to recycle their batteries. Not everyone drives and some people have mobility issues that make it difficult for them to participate in some programs that do exist. In the UK they are working toward establishing a curbside pickup for batteries and have set measurable goals that they hope to achieve in regards to the amount of batteries they hope to recycle in the years to come.
In the United States there are currently programs that are meant to urge consumers to recycle their spent batteries. The problem however is that most people do not know about these opportunities. Some states offer an incentive in the form of a rebate in return for used batteries. In the U.S., there is a company that gathers used batteries by mail – they hand out batter y recycling kits to make it really simple. This method could be used almost anywhere in the world.
If you are looking for information on battery recycling programs and incentives that may be available to you, check out these links.
This site has a lot of information pertaining to battery recycling all over the United States.
This page has loads of great information on batteries, the chemicals they contain and the importance of recycling used and old batteries.
While battery companies are doing their part in the way of putting symbol on batteries and packaging that state they are not to be put in the trash, it is questionable on whether that is enough. It may be wise in the future for the government, recyclers and battery producers to take some television airtime and get the word out about the programs that are available to citizens. Until people are informed it is unlikely that we will see any significant percentage of batteries recycled.