Schools are not allowed to collect batteries and bring them in bulk to be recycled at the Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County, according to a release from the City of Evanston.
The city said that a school in another district had been collecting batteries and dropping them off as a large collection, instead of making people recycle their batteries individually. However, when the batteries are dropped off by the school they are technically considered commercial waste rather than residential waste, even when the waste comes from residents.
Other companies who have similar collections are also barred from collecting batteries to recycle.
"SWANCC operates its special material collection program under the Universal Waste Law, which is both a Federal and State rule. Even though alkaline batteries are not regulated waste, they must only be accepted from an individual resident, not by the truck load in aggregate, even if it is residentially generated," the release said.
"As you may know, it costs money to recycle alkaline batteries because there is very little value to the recycler. They are also benign to the environment if thrown away in the garbage. The value for the recycler is in the rechargeable batteries.
"Interstate Batteries is kind enough to work with SWANCC communities to provide this program at no cost. SWANCC does not want to dump a large amount of alkaline batteries at the recycler and expect them to pay for the recycling. The recycler needs rechargeable batteries mixed with the alkaline to off-set processing costs – and not in huge volumes."