School Battery Recycling Collection No Longer Allowed

Batteries recycled at the Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County must be brought in by individuals, not schools.

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."

jim February 22, 2011 at 05:16 PM
Clif Brown February 22, 2011 at 05:20 PM
This story brings up something that we should all be concerned about - what ultimately happens to the different materials we recycle? As mentioned, batteries are something of essentially no value and are heavy to boot, which makes them expensive to transport. Also, as mentioned, they can be simply thrown away as they are not a toxic hazard (at least standard alkaline type batteries). So we have the combination of no value/heavy weight/safe. Why would any organization not simply dump such material rather than spend a dime on it? How about all the low value plastic waste the city collects? Has anyone ever followed the stuff to Groot's collection plant where it is separated, found out where it goes from there and what the companies that end up with it do with it? For all we know, it might simply be shipped to China and dumped there.
Brian G. Bechaas February 22, 2011 at 08:09 PM
Change to silly rules! This makes me ask a couple of questions... Isn't this a teaching moment? What are the goals of the agency? (To make it more difficult to recycle? ... to get less hazardous materials out of landfills? ) Good grief! Brian G. Becharas Energy Education Associates 619 Oakton St. Evanston, IL 60202 USA Personal e-Mail: bbecharas@aol.com <mailto:bbecharas@aol.com> Home/office 847.475.0319 Mobile 847.922.1114 Skype: brian.becharas Member: Citizens’ Greener Evanston – Secretary: Renewable Energy Task Force, Chairman: Transportation Task Force, http://www.greenerevanston.org/ http://www.facebook.com/CitizensGreenerEvanston


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