Ask Waste Watchers: How to recycle batteries
May 6, 2012
I am considering placing a battery collection bucket in our break room at work. Is there a free and convenient way to recycle the collected batteries?
Keith in Eagle
Thanks for the great question, Keith. I appreciate the “grassroots” effort to get your co-workers to recycle batteries. One person can make a positive environmental impact, especially if you are influencing the behavior of others.
If your co-workers use a lot of “rechargeable” batteries, there is a great rechargeable battery and cellphone collection service called call2recycle.org.
This free service is available to schools, businesses and other organizations.
Call2recycle.org is a nonprofit organization that is completely funded by rechargeable-battery manufacturers. There is no cost to you. If you want to participate, you can complete their online sign-up form and they will send you a cardboard box with a pre-paid UPS shipping label and plastic bags.
Each rechargeable battery must be placed in its own plastic bag and sealed. This prevents the batteries from shorting out with other batteries in the box and potentially starting a fire.
However, call2recycle will only accept certain types of rechargeable batteries, including nickel-cadmium, nickel metal hydride, lithium ion, nickel zinc and small lead acid gel cells weighing less than 11 pounds each. If your business or organization frequently generates these types of batteries, then this would be a useful service.
Someone familiar with the various types of batteries would need to manage or at least monitor the box; otherwise, every type of battery would end up in there.
Call2recycle is a great program, but they may not be the best choice for you depending on your needs.
There are a number of batteries types that call2recycle will not accept, including alkaline, button cell, lithium pile, lead acid wet cells and any other type not specifically on their acceptable list.
Most of the batteries that will probably end up in your collection bucket are going to be alkaline batteries. Call2recycle does not accept alkaline batteries. Alkaline batteries can be thrown away with regular trash or they can be recycled by bringing them to the Wolcott facility.
A local and convenient way in which you can recycle all types of batteries is to bring them to the Household Hazardous Waste facility in Wolcott. Household Hazardous Waste recycles thousands of pounds of batteries annually. We will accept batteries ranging from tiny button cells to large lead acid batteries. There is no charge for Eagle County residents. For businesses, there is a reasonable charge to help offset our disposal costs. Give Household Hazardous Waste a call, and we will work with you to make your battery collection a success.
Joseph Walls is hazardous-waste specialist at the Eagle County Household Hazardous Waste facility, located at the landfill in Wolcott. The facility is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. Call 970-328-3468 or visit http://www.eaglecounty.us/recyclingwaste for information.