While I’m on the topic of batteries, I thought I’d write about recycling them.
This summer, the city of Ann Arbor converted to “single-stream” recycling. What this means is that now we just dump all of our recyclables into a single bin and someone, somewhere sorts it all out. When they implemented this system, they also stopped accepting batteries at the curbside pickup.
At the time, I thought, “How dumb is that”? People are just going to start throwing their batteries in the trash. Well, as it turns out, I guess that isn’t so bad after all.
The latest newsletter from the Ann Arbor Public Services Department notes:
It is generally accepted that used, alkaline batteries can be placed in the trash. U.S. alkaline batteries—also called one-use, disposable, dry cells, non-rechargeables, or nontoxic “green” rechargeables—have eliminated the addition of mercury since 1995. The resulting batteries are relatively inert.
Rechargeable batteries are another matter. The newsletter says:
Rechargeable batteries contain toxic, heavy metals, such as nickel-cadmium, lithium, and mercury, and should not be placed in the trash. Rechargeables should be taken to free drop-off sites at many stores that sell these batteries, including Batteries Plus, Best Buy, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Office Depot, Radio Shack, Sears, Staples [[and a bunch of local stores]]. Look for drop-off boxes at the Customer Service area. Recycle Ann Arbor’s Drop-Off Station and Washtenaw County’s Home Toxics Center also accept rechargeable batteries.
I still feel kind of funny about dumping the AAA batteries in the trash, but I guess it’s OK now.