Recycling batteries and household hazardous waste helps the environment and saves me money. Many common household items like batteries, electronics, paints, cleaners and more contain toxic materials that can pollute the environment if not disposed of properly. By recycling these items through my local household hazardous waste program, I ensure that the toxic materials are handled safely. Even better, recycling these items keeps them out of the landfill and saves me money on trash fees. In this article, I’ll provide an in-depth look at how recycling batteries and household toxins can help the environment while saving me money.
Batteries contain heavy metals like mercury, lead and cadmium that can leach into soil and water if sent to a landfill. Recycling batteries properly captures these toxic heavy metals so they don’t pollute the environment. Here are some tips on battery recycling:
Find Local Drop-off Locations
Many stores like Best Buy and Home Depot have free battery recycling programs. I can drop off used batteries at these locations and have them recycled properly for free. My local waste management agency likely has a list of stores offering this service.
Use Curbside Pickup
If available in my area, I can put used batteries in a sealed plastic bag and place them on top of my recycling bin on collection day. The recycling truck will take the batteries to a hazardous waste facility.
Mail Them In
For small batteries, I can tape terminals and mail them in a padded envelope to battery manufacturers like Call2Recycle. They will properly recycle the batteries at no cost to me.
Recycling batteries keeps them out of landfills and incinerators. This prevents contamination of soil and groundwater with heavy metals. It also conserves resources since materials in recycled batteries can be reused.
Recycling Household Hazardous Waste
Many common household products contain hazardous ingredients like solvents, oils, cleaners and pesticides. Like batteries, these products need to be handled properly at the end of their useful life to avoid environmental contamination. Fortunately, my community likely has special household hazardous waste collection events where I can drop these materials off to be recycled or disposed of safely. Here are some items I can recycle at these events:
Paints and Solvents
- Latex and oil-based paints
- Paint thinners and mineral spirits
- Varnish and stains
- Strippers and removers
- Used motor oil and filters
- Brake and power steering fluid
- Cleaning chemicals
Pesticides and Chemicals
- Insecticides, herbicides, fungicides
- Pool chemicals
- Fluorescent light bulbs (contain mercury)
Recycling or properly disposing of household hazardous waste keeps toxic materials out of landfills and incinerators. It helps prevent contamination of soil, surface water and groundwater. It also allows safe reuse of any recyclable materials.
How Recycling These Items Saves Me Money
Beyond helping the environment, recycling batteries and household hazardous waste saves me money in a few ways:
- I avoid landfill fees for disposing of toxic materials improperly.
- Recycling programs are often free, saving me on disposal costs.
- I don’t incur costs to replace contaminated soil or water if toxins leak from a landfill.
- Future environmental cleanups are avoided, saving public tax dollars down the road.
I save a little bit each time I choose to recycle batteries or hazardous waste through a community program. Though small, these savings add up over time. More importantly, I’m reducing my environmental footprint and protecting the earth for future generations.
Locating Recycling and Disposal Programs
It takes some research to find battery and hazardous waste recycling programs in my area. Here are some tips to locate these services:
Check with my local waste management agency – They will know all household hazardous waste drop-off options that are available to residents.
Look up stores with battery recycling – Best Buy, Home Depot, Lowe’s and others have free drop-off programs.
Search Earth911.org – This website has a recycling center search tool I can use to find local options.
Contact my trash provider – They can tell me if hazardous items can be placed with regular curbside collection.
Check community calendars – My town or city may have annual household hazardous waste collection events.
With a little legwork, I can find the right recycling and disposal programs for batteries, paints, chemicals and other toxics in my home. Properly handling these materials does so much good for the environment while saving me money.