Celebrate National Battery Day

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Provided by Prince William County Department of Public Works, Solid Waste Division

Feb. 18 is National Battery Day! A day to pay tribute to an everyday item that is often taken for granted. National Battery Day is a time to recognize the device that energizes the things that make our life more interesting and our life tasks more convenient and efficient. We would not want to live without many of the items powered by batteries. Battery-operated devices often light our way and brighten our day, but if handled improperly or disposed of carelessly, batteries can have a dark side.

Batteries are so commonplace and versatile that it is easy to be lulled into complacency when using or handling them. However, if these ubiquitous power packs are handled, stored, or disposed of improperly, they can be dangerous to humans and harmful to the environment. Batteries are a bundle of energy 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. When thrown in the regular trash, batteries decay in landfill sites and could leak into the groundwater, which pollutes soil and water in the community.

Battery Disposal

Properly disposing of batteries not only prevents pollution, but recycling also saves metals and minerals that can be used in new products. Proper battery preparation for recycling is also essential to prevent fires while in transit since batteries rubbing together create the risk of sparks, fires, and explosions. This puts waste management employees, transportation vehicles, equipment, and waste and recycling facilities in danger.

It is important that batteries are not placed in the regular recycling bin, or trash can. Set them aside in a non-metal container after taping the ends until you can take them to a battery collection site for proper handling. Taping the ends prevents batteries from short-circuiting and possibly causing a fire. Call2Recycle.org, a leading consumer battery recycler, recommends duct tape or non-conductive electrical tape.

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 Monday through Saturday. These facilities do not accept hybrid/EV batteries used in electric cars. Contact a car dealership or auto parts retailer for EV battery recycling. Electronic items that contain batteries can be brought to the County Landfill on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

In addition to the two county facilities, several retail outlets also make battery recycling convenient. Home Depot, Lowe’s, Best Buy, Staples, or battery specialty stores like Batteries Plus and Interstate Battery all have battery-recycling programs. Mom’s Organic Market has an extensive recycling center that accepts many battery types. Earth 911 and Call2Recycle are great online resources for battery recycling drop-off locations and battery recycling mail-in program options.

As we celebrate the power of batteries and the opportunity to disengage and connect, to energize and unplug…. let’s stay in tune with safety and the earth’s needs, by making appropriate waste disposal and recycling choices every day.

For more information on recycling in Prince William County, visit pwcva.gov/trashandrecycling and pwcva.gov/disposalguide.

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