First Recycle Popup is in the Books

Day 108 – Yesterday, the Northcenter Neighborhood Association hosted their first Recycle Popup. The set up started at 8am. With the tent up, tables out, bins marked and smiling faces under masks, we were ready to welcome our neighbors by 9am.

The first hour was slow. However, things picked up between 10-11am. Everyone was so happy to be parting with items that they had been saving for months (some even years). They were waiting for someone to rescue these items before they ended up in the trash. It felt good to be part of the solution.

Our helpers were kept busy, sorting all the items and making sure they were placed in the correct bins. I would like to say we were somewhat organized.

The last hour was very busy and we ended the morning with a bang! The next step was to figure out what to do with everything!

We were able to ship three boxes to TerraCycle. Those included, one box of dental and personal hygiene products (toothbrushes, mouthwash bottles and caps, soap packaging, dental floss containers, toothpaste tubes and caps, deodorant containers and caps) and two boxes of plastic food containers.

The amount of batteries we collected was absolutely crazy. It was easily over 100 pounds (if not more). With government agencies like the EPA saying that batteries can be placed in the trash, no one is recycling batteries anymore without a fee. I will be looking high and low for various places to send the batteries. I can’t imagine collecting that amount of batteries every month. Hopefully, people will consider using rechargeable batteries. Not only are they reusable, but they are easily recyclable (without a fee).

We collected ink cartridges, contact lenses and packaging, beauty products, eyeglasses, keys, phone cases, plastic cards, razors (and packaging), crayons, BRITA water filters (and pitchers), and lots and lots of CDs, DVDs and VHS tapes. My daughter and I were very excited about the plastic bread tags!

My car was packed to the brim and emptied into my basement. The next phase is getting all these items to their appropriate destination. I’m giving myself two weeks to get it done, so that I’m ready to go for the next popup on May 15th. I’ll be sure to give another update to fill you in on where everything ended up.

A big thanks to everyone involved with making our inaugural Recycle Popup a success. I am looking forward to improving this event and making it something everyone gets excited about.

Be sure to stay up to date with all the items the Recycle Popup excepts. Click HERE for the list.

Tomorrow, celebrating our National Parks.

Batteries: To recycle or not to recycle, that is the question

Day 49 – There was a time when throwing out your alkaline batteries was a very bad choice for the environment. Many helped keep them out of the landfill, by collecting them and disposing of them properly. You could drop batteries off at your local Walgreens and various other stores. Today, you are instructed to dispose of your single use batteries in the trash. The only state that does not allow this type of disposal is California. So, what does California know that the rest of us do not?

The Mercury-Containing and Rechargeable Battery Management Act of 1996 prohibited the use of mercury in all types of batteries. Ever since the creation of the law, your average household battery has become very difficult to recycle. It has become a common practice to throw away our single use alkaline batteries. The EPA estimates that Americans throw away 3 billion batteries a year. Why recycle? All the materials in batteries can be used to make other products (such as new batteries). And, making batteries without recycled materials means mining and refining to get new metals, both of which have a negative environmental impact.

So, the answer to the question, “Should I recycle my household batteries, even though they no longer contain extremely harmful metals?” is YES! Here are some suggestions on how to recycle your single use batteries.

Single Use Batteries – AA, AAA, C, D, 9V, and all your smaller batteries found in things like watches, hearing aids, etc.

  1. Batteries Plus Bulbs will recycle pretty much every type of battery, including single use batteries. They will also recycle light bulbs. They charge $1.8 per pound to recycle alkaline batteries (AA, AAA, C, D, 9volt).
  2. You can check the Earth911 recycling locator to find the nearest alkaline battery recycling location.
  3. Various take back programs exist. Though, these programs have fees. The Little Green Box is a low cost option.
As pictured on Amazon.

Your best option, when it comes to batteries is to purchase rechargeable batteries. Not only can you reuse them countless times, but recycling them is extremely easy. I purchased the Panasonic Eneloop rechargeable battery kit.

Rechargeable Batteries – Commonly found in power tools, cordless phones, laptops, and cameras.

  1. Call2Recycle has partnered with numerous stores to collect your rechargeable batteries. Click HERE to see which stores near you will take your rechargeable batteries. If you’re in Chicago, Home Depot or Lowes are the places to go.
  2. When batteries are recycled at various processors, valuable metals can be recovered and used into new products such as silverware, pots and pans, new batteries, and even golf clubs.

On this National Battery Day make the decision to switch to rechargeable and be sure to recycle all your batteries, single use and rechargeable.

Tomorrow, collecting for a cause I learned about on the SCARCE website.