Battery charge shocking news for landfills

Posted by Jamie Lee on Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

Dan Dakin / Niagara Falls Review

They may be small, but batteries thrown in the garbage are worse for the environment than you might realize.

The Niagara Region’s waste management department wants to see fewer dead batteries end up in landfills, so they’re launching a short pilot program that would see the dry cells collected at the curb.

“Batteries are small and some people have a mindset that ‘I just have one battery, so I’ll throw it in the garbage,’ but that battery has toxins that can leak out. It’s potent in terms of toxicity,” said Catherine Habermebl, the Niagara Region’s associate director for waste collection and diversion operations.

About half of the region’s household waste was diverted for composting or recycling last year, but batteries were not one of the items collected.

The new pilot project will run from Oct. 22 to Nov. 2 and will only be for the approximately 30,000 households in Port Colborne, Welland and Pelham.

Residents are asked to put their non-rechargeable AA, AAA, C, D, 9-volt and watch batteries into a clear plastic bag beside their recycling bins.

From there, they will be collected by Emterra — the company that holds the recycling contract in Niagara — and taken to Raw Materials in Port Colborne.

That company separates and recycles 90% of the material from alkaline batteries. Habermebl said Raw Materials will pay the region about $1.54 per kilogram for the batteries that are collected during the two-week campaign, which will help offset the costs of promoting the pilot project.

“The pilot is to assess volumes, participation, logistical challenges and the cost,” she said. “There has to be a balance between the cost and the value in terms of how much you’re diverting.”



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