Dead batteries set for recycling

Brent Richter / Staff writer
June 18, 2010 01:00 AM

Starting July 1, deceased batteries from your TV remote, smoke detector and even many household appliances no longer need to go to the landfill where they can leach toxic chemicals into the ground.

The Ministry of Envi-ronment announced last week that, in partnership with industry product steward Call2Recycle, alkaline batteries are being added to the list of items to be diverted from landfills for recycling.

"British Columbia is leading the way in promoting environmental stewardship by launching the first government-mandated household battery recycling program in North America," said John Yap, B.C.'s minister of state for climate action. "We fully support Call2Recycle's efforts to recycle batteries and cell phones into new products and keep them out of our solid waste stream, which will help the environment and the economy."

Residents can drop off their batteries at a number of locations on the Coast including both landfills, Gibsons Recycling Depot, Canadian Tire and London Drugs with more retailers to follow, according to Cathy Kenny, solid waste management co-ordinator for the Sunshine Coast Regional District.

Once collected, the batteries will be taken to sorting facilities where they will be separated by type and shipped to processors where they will be melted down "to harvest the most valuable metals or by-products the batteries have to offer," said Carl Smith, president of Call2Recycle.

Smith said those by-products, such as nickel, mercury and cadmium, can be harmful if left in the ground and can be reused for other products or new batteries.

Smith said keeping batteries from the waste stream is also an important part of achieving a zero-waste community.

"It doesn't matter what's really in what you're throwing away. You shouldn't throw it away. You should do everything you can to recycle it into something else and not just have everything be a consumable," he said.

Call2Recycle has committed to collecting 25 per cent of the batteries sold in the province - an ambitious, but achievable benchmark, Smith said.

"It may sound low, but it happens to be the [European Union] standard that only four of five countries in the EU have been able to meet," Smith said.

© Coast Reporter


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