PEI

Where are your batteries going? P.E.I. doing its part to recycle batteries

Over the last year about 37,000 kilograms batteries were recycled by Islanders.

'There was about 23% more batteries turned in than the previous years'

Batteries can be dropped off at Waste Watch centres, grocery stores or various Island businesses that have collection boxes. (Melanie Ferrier/CBC)

Prince Edward Island is doing its part when it comes to recycling batteries.

Over the last year about 37,000 kilograms of batteries were recycled by Islanders.

"It was the best year we've had so far. There was about 23 per cent more batteries turned in than the previous years," says Heather Myers, disposal manager with Island Waste Management.

There has been a push in recent years to recycle batteries, through ad campaigns and such, and that initiative is paying off, Myers said.

Batteries are put into collection boxes and those boxes are sent to sorting facilities where batteries are separated according to weight and their chemistry. The batteries are then sent to processors where the chemicals and metals in the batteries are extracted, Myers said.

"Then they will repurpose those products into remanufacturing new items," she said. "You can get metal out of the battery then there is a lot of heavy metals like lead and copper."

The metals pulled from the old batteries are reused to make new batteries, Myers said.

Lithium-ion, small sealed lead acid rechargeable batteries and lithium primary batteries must be individually bagged or have their terminals covered with tape before they are shipped.

Other battery types do not need to be individually bagged or taped, but if you are not sure what chemistry your battery is, bag or tape it to be on the safe side.

Properly dispose of batteries

There are reasons why you can't just toss a battery in the waste bin to be shipped off to a landfill.

Heather Myers, disposal manager with Island Waste Management, says if a battery doesn't end up in the proper location and finds its way into organics or on the side of the road it can cause issues. (Brittany Spencer/CBC)

"Those batteries do have chemicals in them, those chemicals can leach out of the batteries and into the landfill system and then we have to collect that and treat it," Myers said.

If a battery doesn't end up in the proper location and finds its way into organics, or on the side of the road, it can cause issues, Myers said.

"Those chemicals do leach out and they can cause contamination to our groundwater or our soil. So it is best to make sure batteries are properly recycled and disposed of," she said.

Sometimes batteries have to be picked out of trash by IWMC staff, but batteries can be small and hard to see, Myers said.

Don't blue bag them

Batteries can be hard to see in blue bags and people should put them in battery recycling collection boxes, she said.

"That's contamination for our plastic and glass and cans. We don't want contamination in the recyclables. It's possible they could get rejected because processors don't want to have things like batteries in with their plastics " she said.

Myers said it is also a bad idea to store dead batteries in a drawer at home.

Batteries can be dropped off at Waste Watch centres, grocery stores or various Island businesses that have collection boxes.

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Island Morning

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