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What to do with spent batteries

July 8th, 2013 · No Comments · Batteries, Disposability, Toxic Waste, Trash Disposal

Do you know someone who tosses used batteries back into the drawer with the NEW batteries? What’s up with this sick habit? I can explain. But first, let me complain. The next person, naturally assuming the batteries pulled from the new-battery-drawer to be new, finds that the appliance still doesn’t work and starts down a completely wrong path to figuring that out.

Now what? Do I still have the packaging for this thing? Are there instructions? Was there a manual? Where is it? Is it still under warranty? Shall I go online and find trouble-shooting instructions on their website? This is way too much hassle — is it worth it? Grrrr. I’d come out ahead just throwing the stupid machine out and buying a new one. Etc.

With luck and talent, they’ll eventually figure out the problem is a new battery that is actually a dead battery. Meanwhile there went 45 minutes of their life that they’ll never get back.

Why does this happen? We could attribute it to careless and inconsiderate behavior; or to be more kind we could attribute it to a deep-seated aversion to tossing a battery into the garbage. On an intuitive and sometimes barely perceptible level, one senses that a battery is a bad thing to add to the landfills. So, lacking a better option, one throws it back in the drawer.

batterybagFor many people, the better option has to be easy or it won’t happen. Now it’s easy. You can toss your spent batteries into a paper bag and take them to one of two Whole Foods grocery stores in Portland — the one on NE 43rd & Sandy, and the one downtown at NW 12 & couch. They’ve got — a company that is selling rechargeables, but you don’t have to buy anything to stick your AAA through D sized batteries into the disposal slot of their kiosk.

As for larger batteries, such as those for power tools and laptops, that’s another story. More on that later.

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