January 11, 2013

Green building tips: Safe battery disposal, a supercharged option

Flashlights. Smoke alarms. The high-tech toys that may have found their way into your home on Christmas Day. These items are in use every day, and these items are all powered by batteries. The question is: How do you properly dispose of those batteries when their power is gone?

Because batteries no longer contain mercury—thanks to federal legislation passed in 1996—most people simply toss batteries in the trash. There is no mercury to leach out, but did you know that batteries could possibly leak acid into the ground and pollute ground water?

There are several options to stop this possible pollution. The easiest is to always wrap your single-use alkaline batteries in a plastic bag before throwing them away. This stops any acid from leaking into the ground.

Another good option is to take them to your household hazardous waste facility, where they will be recycled or disposed of properly. You can find the nearest location by going to www.earth911.com.

The best option is to decrease your use of single-use batteries by using rechargeable batteries whenever possible. This option keeps batteries out of landfills and will save you money!