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Why should you recycle batteries?

There are many types of consumer batteries, from the lead-acid batteries we use in our campus vehicles to the little batteries in your mouse. There are household batteries like AA, AAA, C, D and 9-volt, some of them rechargeable, some not. But whatever type of battery, they all have chemicals inside them.

Of course, chemicals are not all equally toxic. The three worst types are lead, cadmium and mercury. Other battery compounds like silver, zinc, and nickel can also be problems, but less so.

Sending any type of battery to the landfill means the contents of the battery will ultimately end up getting into the soil, groundwater, and/or surface water, and thus eventually into the food chain and drinking-water supply. The key thing is to make sure batteries with toxic components do not go to the landfill in the first place.

If you have spent batteries around your office or lab, gather them up, tape all terminals and store in a safe place, like in a yogurt or ice cream container until the Memorial Battery Blitz. This free event will be held on May 31 and June 1, 2012. Click on the  link (above) for more information and the required form.