Where or where do batteries go?

I am really thrilled with the overwhelming response this column has received. Thank you so much for the opportunity to research your questions and provide feedback.

A question I am frequently asked is, “What do I do with my batteries?”

One option is to go to www.batteryrecycling.com to order a battery recycling kit for your home, however it will cost you $34.50. A local site for recycling your alkaline (such as AA, AAA, 9-volt) and power tool batteries is Dixieline Lumber. The receptacle for household batteries is at the back of the store at the end of aisle 15 and there is a box at the front of the store by the exit for your power tool batteries.

You may also recycle them at the Vista Hazardous Waste Facility or arrange for a pick-up with Clean Harbors. (Contact information and locations for all hazardous waste disposal options are listed in the box above.)

Unused cans of paint are common sources of hazardous waste. There are a couple of ways of disposing of paint. If it is water-based, you can remove the lid and allow the paint to dry out completely and then place the can with the dried out material into the trash.

Otherwise you must take it to the Vista Hazardous Waste Facility or call Clean Harbors for a pick-up. You are limited to 15 gallons, or 125, pounds per pickup. If you are over 65 the pickup is free and, for everyone else, the cost is $10.

Here’s one I was not aware of: I cleaned out my medicine cabinet the other day and opened up each bottle and poured those unused, expired medications right into the toilet. Oooops! Wrong! Subsequently I learned that expired medications are considered hazardous waste and there are rules for proper disposal.

When medications are disposed of improperly they can get into local sewage systems. Modern sewage treatment plants are not fully equipped to deal with medication disposal and there is the potential for long-term health risks posed by the consumption of even minute quantities of these medications in drinking water. They may be disposed of along with your other hazardous waste materials at Vista Hazardous Waste Facility or Clean Harbors. If you choose to place these unused medications in the trash, you must be sure to mix them up in a sealable bag with something undesirable such as coffee grounds, cat litter or dirt so that they cannot be accidentally or intentionally misused.

While incandescent bulbs can be thrown in the trash, fluorescent bulbs cannot because they contain mercury. There are several options for their proper disposal. In addition to taking them to Vista Hazardous Waste Facility or arranging for curbside pick-up with Clean Harbors, you may also drop them off at Griffin Ace Hardware in Carmel Valley. Home Depot will take them as well, but only if you bring in one or two bulbs at a time.

Prompted by a question from a reader regarding convenient disposal of his insulin-dependent wife’s used needles (sharps) I did some research and found that there is no local drop-off for these hazardous waste items. They may be collected in red bio-containers or impenetrable plastic see-through jugs, such as milk or juice containers, with the lids taped securely on and dropped off at the Vista Hazardous Waste Facility or at the Carlsbad Waste Management Recycling Center. You may also dispose of the containers of used needles via a Clean Harbors pick-up, however the container must be handed directly to the driver and not left curbside.

Once again I am reminded how complicated and sometimes confusing responsible disposal and recycling can be, which is disappointing since there are so many people interested and motivated to do the right thing. I submit this information to you with the hope that the process becomes at least slightly less tangled and less difficult to navigate. Please contact me with any questions you may have at sbbaglady@gmail.com.

Hazardous waste recycling resources

- Vista Hazardous Waste Facility: 1145 East Taylor Street, Vista. Open every Saturday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Clean Harbors: (800) 444-4244
- Dixieline Lumber: 663 Lomas Santa Fe, Solana Beach;
(858) 755-0246
- Griffin Ace Hardware: 3880 Valley Centre Drive, Carmel Valley (across from the Souplantation); (858) 793-1771 (NOTE: They limit fluorescent bulb collection to four bulbs maximum)
- Carlsbad Waste Management Recycling Center:
5960 El Camino Real, Carlsbad. Open Tuesday through Saturday,
8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (closed from 12 to 12:40 p.m. for lunch)

Related posts:

  1. Where to dispose of those old batteries
  2. Residential waste/recycling service delayed by one day for week following Labor Day
  3. Annual bulky item cleanup day is Oct. 24
  4. Voters to decide if city will charge for garbage collection
  5. Mayor’s View: Spring cleaning good for more than just your garage

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Posted by on Mar 18, 2010. Filed under Archives. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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