Southern California environment news and trends

What KPCC reporters do with old batteries, and whether we should recycle them



Rechargeable batteries, alkaline batteries, zinc oxide...they all come from and go to different places.

It happened again. I heard the familiar plunk of AA batteries going into the trash in our newsroom in Pasadena. I won't name the guilty party, but I will say it's an ongoing challenge for us. We're just like the rest of California, after all. So I won't name the scofflaw among us who said, "Uh, I just throw them in the trash. Horrible, I know." Another colleague: "I feel bad tossing them but have no idea what else to do with them!" And another muttered: "Sometims reclid, some teems trahs." [translation: sometimes recycling, sometimes trash.]

But battery recyclers will be relieved to know that Adolfo Guzman Lopez, one of our education reporters, has been educated well on recycling; he does it at our downtown bureau. 

Riverside bureau chief Steven Cuevas wrote: "I just toss mine off the Santa Monica pier whenever I'm in town." (Just kidding, Heal the Bay!) But what he really does is use "rechargeable only for field equipment. Old household batteries we out aside and take to a location in Riverside." So basically, at least one of us gets it right. I like rechargeables, too. "Only way to go. AA prices are nuts," Cuevas notes.  


Battery companies plot national recycling program


A tub of batteries.

Battery manufacturers Duracell, Energizer, Panasonic and Rayovac comprise the Corporation for Battery Recycling, a nonprofit group committed to creating a nationwide collection and recycling initiative for household batteries. This week, the CBR issued a call for proposals from potential business partners to help manage and facilitate the program.

"Our vision is to have an industry-led voluntary program that redefines how U.S. consumers dispose of batteries, maximizing the reuse of spent battery materials and producing zero waste to landfill," said Marc K. Boolish, president of the CBR in a statement. "We are seeking a stewardship organization with the capacity to build a national program that is convenient and inspires consumers to participate by recycling the batteries they use in a range of electronic and household devices."