Battery recycling available

Published 12:41 am Saturday, September 11, 2010

Battery recycling: Kathy Russell, a member of the Suffolk Clean Community Commission, shows off the battery recycling container at the North Main Street Farm Fresh store. The new recycling program aims to keep hazardous materials out of the environment and reduce volume at the landfill.

The next time the batteries in your remote control or flashlight die, think about recycling them rather than taking them to the landfill.

A new battery recycling program has kicked off at locations across the city.

The new program aims to keep waste and hazardous metals out of the Suffolk landfill, said Kathy Russell, a member of Suffolk’s Clean Community Commission.

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“We are trying to divert as much as we can from the Suffolk landfill,” Russell said. “We can just take one component one step at a time, and batteries is one of the first ones we decided to do.”

Recycling containers have been set up at retail and government locations across the city. The containers, which look like small, brown recycling bins, will accept AA, AAA, C, D and 9-volt alkaline batteries, but no rechargeables or other sizes.

Besides diverting volume from the landfill, the program will keep the hazardous metals included in batteries from leaching into the environment, Russell said.

“If we can get those metals out of the landfill, it just helps the landfill,” she said. “It’s all about education.”

Batteries contain heavy metals like mercury, lead and nickel, which can contaminate the environment when improperly disposed of, according to a news release from the city. Recycling them keeps the metals out of the landfill, where they have the potential to leak into soil, groundwater or surface water.

The batteries will be accepted by the Southeastern Public Service Authority and sent to a facility in Georgia that recovers the metals from them, Russell said. Virginia Beach runs a similar program.

“They have a disposal system to get rid of them,” Russell said.

SPSA also runs other little-known recycling programs, like ones bleach bottles and household hazardous waste, such as paint and aerosol products.

Russell wants to begin other recycling programs in Suffolk, she said. Light bulbs and wood products are also in her sights.

“We’re trying to do as much diverting as we can,” she said.

For more information on the battery recycling program, call 514-7604 or any member of the Clean Community Commission. The containers are located at the following places:

• ABNB Federal Credit Union, 907 W. Washington St.

• East Suffolk Recreation Center, 138 S. Sixth St.

• Farm Fresh, 1401 N. Main St.

• Farm Fresh, 3575 Bridge Road

• Lowe’s, 1216 N. Main St.

• North Suffolk Library, 2000 Bennett’s Creek Park Road

• Northern Shores Recreation Center, 6701 Respass Beach Road

• Suffolk Department of Public Utilities, 1258 Holland Road

• Suffolk Police Headquarters, corner of West Washington Street and Henley Place

• Suffolk Police Department Sector I, 230 E. Washington St.

• Suffolk Police Department Sector II, 3901 Bridge Road

• Virginia Cooperative Extension Office, 440 Market St., third floor