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Niagara Region
[Nigeria]
Posted on : Aug 06, 2008
Early indications are Niagara Region's battery
recycling program is a success, but with enhanced access it could be moreso.

Three months in, regional residents have diverted 1.05 tonnes of dead batteries
from the landfill, choosing instead to deposit them for recycling.
It's a commendable effort, but is really little more than a drop in the bucket.


Niagara Region's mobile household hazardous waste depots have always accepted
batteries for recycling, which usually captures 16 tonnes of the small, toxic
power plants each year.

Niagara Region pilot project is making progress, but there is a long way to go


But that represents only four per cent of all the batteries sold in Niagara in
any given year.

The Region's pilot project, approved by council this spring, established
permanent battery recycling depots at each of the Region's landfill sites.

Assuming the pilot project numbers remain consistent over the remainder of the
year, and also assuming people will continue to recycle batteries at the mobile
waste depots, the Region can expect to capture roughly 20 tonnes of batteries
this year.

It's sounds good, but is only a one-percentage point increase in how many
batteries are being diverted from the landfill versus how many are being
purchased.

We can, and must, do better.

Look around in your daily life for items you have that run on batteries:
cellphones, cordless phones, watches, remote controls, MP3 players, clocks,
cameras -- battery-powered items are everywhere and Niagara residents buy 400
tonnes of batteries each year to power them.


While batteries are essential for so much in today's automated world, they are
environmental hazards.

About 88 per cent of the mercury found in landfill sites leaks out of discarded
batteries.

That says nothing about the lead, cadmium, lithium, nickel and zinc also found
in the compact units.

But there is no need for them to go into the landfill. Many of these chemicals
and elements can be recaptured and recycled, if only people stop tossing them in
the trash.

The Region can help by expanding the drop-off points for dead batteries.
Municipal buildings and special events are being considered, but the Region
should also investigate partnerships with private businesses.

Awareness is also key. People have to know the damage they are causing by
throwing batteries in the trash, and what they can do about it.

As always, people have to take more responsibility for their actions.

It may not be convenient to take a trip to the dump every time a battery in your
house runs its course.

But it takes little effort, and space, to create a bin in your house for dead
batteries. When it gets full, bring it to the landfill.

Niagara is on pace to recycle 20 tonnes of batteries this year.

Only 380 tonnes to go.
 
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