|Reduce, Reuse, Recycle | This member gets a charge
out of conservation
Local Sierra Club member Dianne Brumbach from Santa Cruz is enthusiastic about
getting the most out of batteries. Whats more, as Facility Services Coordinator
at Temple Beth El in Aptos, she has instituted policies at work to make recharging
batteries part of the work routine.
||A variety of inexpensive battery chargers
are available commercially.
We have a rule; in order to get a new battery, an employee has to give me
one, Dianne explains. The Temple uses batteries in palm pilots, cordless
microphones, flashlights and clocks.
Every year almost three billion batteries are discarded in the United States.
That equals 125,000 tons or the equivalent of a chain of double A batteries stretching
end to end around the earth six times!
Evaluate your battery use and see if it is possible to cut down. Using recharable
batteries saves money in the long term and is better for the environment.
Its a way to take charge of your recycling.
Dont toss old batteries in the trash
Household batteries are considered hazardous waste and should not be thrown in
the trash. Rather they should be taken to your communitys hazardous waste
drop off site for proper disposal along with other household chemicals such as
old paint and solvents. You can collect unused household hazardous wastes including
batteries in your garage or other area for transport to such sites once a year.
Batteries contain cadmium, lead and other toxic heavy metals that can be released
into the environment if they are put in a landfill or incinerated. If these metals
enter the environment they can pollute the air and accumulate in food crops, fish,
and drinking water. Long-term exposure to such metals can result in brain, lung
and kidney damage and may cause cancer. Lead exposure is especially harmful to
very young children and fetuses exposed before birth. Mercury has been phased
out of most batteries. Prior to 1992, batteries were the largest source of mercury
entering municipal solid waste.
Information for this article was obtained from the Battery Lesson Plan created
by Keep Indianapolis Beautiful. The Plan development was funded by the Rechargeable
Battery Recycling Corporation, a non-profit organization.
This section celebrates Chapter members who walk lightly on the earth. May
their behavior inspire others. Please contact the editor to suggest Club members
to feature in this section.
[ top of page ]