Where to dispose of those old batteries
The batteries in the flashlight are dead. You pop in new ones. Now what to do with the old ones?
Batteries are considered “universal waste” by the state of California, so you can’t throw them in the trash. They contain heavy metals that pose a risk to the environment as well as human health if they’re dumped into a landfill and leach into the soil and groundwater.
But you can’t put them in the recycle bin, either. So where’s a person with a dead battery to go?
A rule of thumb with universal waste is that they’ll take it back at the place you bought it from. So you go to, say, Radio Shack.
“We only take rechargeable batteries,” said an employee at the Radio Shack on La Jolla Boulevard.
Yours are alkaline. Therefore, you must dispose of them at the Household Waste Transfer Facility at the Miramar Landfill. The facility is open on Saturdays by appointment only.
But don’t despair. Recycling or disposing of all universal waste is not as time-consuming.
Small electronic devices such as cell phones, digital cameras and MP3 players can be recycled through the U.S. Postal Service’s Mail Back program.
The post offices in Del Mar, Rancho Santa Fe and Solana Beach have bags available that the items can be mailed away for recycling for free.
A company called Clover Technologies Group pays the postage for these items and then attempts to remanufacture and remarket them.
Many bigger electronic appliances such as computers and televisions can be dropped off at thrift stores. Goodwill, for example, accepts most electronics whether or not they’re working, and it may even pick the items up without charge.
There are also e-waste recycling events held from time to time by various organizations and companies. Recycle San Diego holds many such events. The next is on Sept. 26 at the company’s location at 8222 Ronson Road in Kearny Mesa.
And at last the rule of thumb does hold true for fluorescent light bulbs and used motor oil. Most retail stores that sell the products have a take-back program.
- Miramar Recycling Center (at Miramar Landfill) accepts a variety of electronics, but it charges a fee for some.
- A Plus Surplus is a company that will sell or dispose of your e-waste on consignment. It’s located in downtown San Diego.
- Earth911.com is a great Web site where you can find a location nearby to recycle or dispose of anything.
- Sandiego.gov/environmental-services has the legal guidelines for proper disposal. Call (858) 694-7000.
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