I was surprised to find out recently that you can’t recycle household batteries in Ann Arbor anymore. I used to collect them in a little steel can, but Recycle Ann Arbor stopped taking them. From Recycle Ann Arbor’s website:
Alkaline household batteries do not contain hazardous materials and may be disposed of in the trash.These batteries used to be considered hazardous waste. But companies stopped using mercury in alkaline batteries in the mid-1990s. And recyclers and policymakers decided enough time has passed – older batteries are mostly out of the waste stream, so many places recommend tossing alkaline batteries in the trash. That was surprising to me. It seems like there ought to be a way to recycle them. Here at Michigan Radio, we use a lot of batteries. Chief engineer Bob Skon tells me he usually buys a box of 500 AA batteries every two months. So with our audio recorders and cameras, we go through around 3,000 AA batteries a year. That’s about 150 pounds of batteries. But we’re not allowed to toss them in the trash. Michigan regulators suggest that businesses and other large “waste generators” manage these types of alkaline batteries as part of their “universal waste” management plan. The University of Michigan, our employer, does this. “They’re still requiring that we put them in a bin and then they come pick them up,” said Skon. ” I’m not sure what they’re doing with them afterwards.” Well, I tracked that answer down. Our batteries take a little trip with lots of stops. Here’s where they go:
- The batteries are gathered up by the university.
- Batteries are shipped to Cleanlites in Mason, MI where they are sorted.
- Batteries are shipped to Battery Solutions in Howell, MI for more sorting.
- Batteries are shipped, checked, and recycled at RBS Metals in Brighton, MI.