Assault on battery

As of February 8, 2006, California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) banned Universal Waste, or U-waste, in landfills.

Some examples of universal waste include:

  • Batteries
  • Fluorescent tubes (lamps)
  • Electronic devices (cell phones, computers, televisions)
  • Cathode ray tubes (CRTs) (computer monitors, televisions)
  • Mercury wastes (thermometers and toys)
  • Non-empty aerosol cans

All of these items serve a great purpose in enhancing our daily lives but become hazardous waste when they are discarded. As mentioned above, U-waste includes all batteries sizes AAA, AA, C, D, button cell, 9 Volt, and other batteries, both rechargeable and single use.

In California, all universal waste must be recycled, or taken to a Household Hazardous Waste disposal facility, a Universal Waste handler (e.g., storage facility or broker), or an authorized recycling facility.

They are considered hazardous because of the metals and/or other toxic or corrosive materials they contain within. These toxic chemicals can:

  • Pollute the lakes and streams as the metals vaporize into the air when burned.
  • Contribute to heavy metals that potentially may leach from solid waste landfills.
  • Expose the environment and water to lead and acid.
  • Contain strong corrosive acids.
  • May cause burns or danger to eyes and skin.

Storing old batteries

Store your old batteries in a safe, dry place and out of the reach of children. For an extra measure of safety, place masking tape or some other non-conductive seal over the terminals (battery ends).

Battery disposal

Many local government agencies and retailers run programs that accept old batteries and send them on for recycling. For information on local collection programs, contact I Love A Clean San Diego at 1-800-237-BLUE.

I Love A Clean San Diego (ILACSD) is a non-profit, environmental education organization committed to conservation and waste reduction. ILACSD operates a Recycling & Household Hazardous Waste Call Center, holds workshops, and provides community outreach and presentations. At EarthFair 2007, you can take your waste batteries and cell phones to the Recycle San Diego booth.