Provided by Prince William County Solid Waste Division
Feb. 18 is National Battery Day and March 9 is the date to “spring forward” to Daylight Saving Time. Batteries are central to both dates.
Battery Day is a time to recognize this special energy source, which powers the things that make our life more convenient and safer. Emergency preparedness experts recommend that we change the batteries in life-saving devices such as smoke detectors on the day we change to Daylight Saving Time. However, if batteries are handled or disposed of improperly, they can be dangerous to humans and harmful to the environment.
Batteries are made from a variety of different chemicals and metals including alkaline, silver-oxide, nickel, metal-hydride, lead-acid, nickel-cadmium, lithium-ion, and zinc-carbon. Batteries decay in landfill sites and could leak into the groundwater, which may pollute soil and water.
Proper battery disposal not only prevents pollution, it also conserves landfill space and saves metals and minerals that can be recycled and used in new products. Proper preparation of batteries for recycling is also essential to prevent fires while in transit. Batteries rubbing together create the risk of sparks and fire. This puts waste management employees and property in danger.
Scott McDonald is the Solid Waste Division Recycling Program Manager. He said, “It’s important that you don’t place batteries in your regular recycling bin, or trash can. Residents should take them to a battery collection site for proper handling. When recycling rechargeable and single-use batteries rated nine (9) volts or higher, it is important to tape the terminals to reduce the chance of fire during transport and at the processing facility.” Simply place masking tape over the positive terminal of each battery or return it to the original packaging for safe in-home storage and transport. Use a plastic pail or cardboard box rather than a metal can for storage.
Proper handling and disposal are important. Battery Day is an opportunity to celebrate the convenience and respect the potential hazards that batteries pose. Prince William County residents can bring various types of household batteries and lead acid automotive batteries to the Prince William County Landfill or the Balls Ford Road Compost Facility every day. These facilities do not accept hybrid batteries used in electric cars.
Several retail outlets also make battery recycling convenient for many types of batteries. Home Depot, Lowe’s, Best Buy, Staples, Batteries Plus and Interstate Battery all have battery-recycling programs. Mom’s Organic Market has an extensive recycling center that accepts a wide range of battery types. Earth 911 and Call2Recycle are great online resources for battery recycling drop off locations and battery recycling mail-in program options.
Battery Day Observance
For most people, every day is a battery day. Batteries are a critical part of powering our everyday life.
On Feb. 18, celebrate the power of batteries and the opportunity to disengage and connect, to unplug and tune in. But stay in tune with earth’s needs, making appropriate waste disposal and recycling choices every day. As you spring forward to Daylight Saving Time on March 9, remember to change the batteries in your smoke detectors and other life saving devices, and make a point of proper disposal and recycling.
For more information on how to recycle and properly dispose of materials in Prince William County, use the A to Z Disposal Guide.