Monday, March 29, 2010

A Battery of Batteries

If your like me you've been wondering what to do with all those alkaline and rechargeable batteries that are no longer any good. I used to take them to Whole Foods, but they have since stopped taking them. I heard from a good source that they were not shipping them properly and as a result some containers were catching fire. Because it was unwieldy for them to comply with the law, they simply chose to stop the program. Sad for me and them, because the battery drop off was the only thing that would get me into the ridiculously crowded Whole Foods on Columbus Circle.

I have always been horrified by all the AA batteries I see collecting in heaps, near the drains of the subway station tracks. Take a closer look, they're dull and gray but hard to miss because of the cylindrical shape and size we all know well. This could be the worst place for people to toss their batteries. They slowly oxidize, leaking heavy metals into our waterways.

So what to do then? I bumped into David Hurd, Director of the Office of Recycling Outreach and Education at GrowNYC (formerly CENYC), last Thursday evening after work, which is the best time to get him talking about work. I asked him about the batteries. The next day he forwarded me these details:

  • It is illegal to throw rechargeable batteries in the trash (or subway tracks!)
  • You can recycle rechargables at select Greenmarket locations: the list.
  • Big box stores that sell rechargeable batteries must take them back. Use the locator!
  • The City of NY is working with the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation for collection. You can join- its easy to get a drop-box near you!
  • What do they do with the batteries: see what here.
  • Ordinary alkaline batteries can be thrown in the trash: see the NYCWastele$$ site.
  • Or you can choose to recycle them at these somewhat out of reach, Dept. of Sanitation, non-commercial drop-off locations:
BRONX: Hunts Point at Farragut Street and East River.

BROOKLYN: Bay 41st Street and Gravesend Bay, south of the Belt Parkway (adjacent to the DSNY Brooklyn 11 garage).

QUEENS: College Point at 30th Avenue, between 120th and 122nd Streets.

STATEN ISLAND: Foot of Muldoon Avenue off the West Shore Expressway (440) adjacent to the DSNY Staten Island 3 garage.

MANHATTAN: DSNY garage at 605 West 30th Street, between 11th & 12th Avenue.

For even more information, see NYCWastele$$


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