NOTICE 4/5/2024 @ 7:30am: North Kent Waste & Recycling Center is in the final stretch of its expansion construction. Our recycling drop-off stations at this site have been temporarily moved — click here for the details. Stay tuned here on our website or our social media for updates!

Beyond the Bin: What to do with your old batteries, technology – WOODTV

May 1, 2024

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — There are a lot of different ways people may have been taught to deal with old batteries or other technology and appliances but the Kent County Department of Public Works wants to set the record straight.

“It’s not unheard of for people to have confusion when it comes to the electronics and batteries,” Micah Herrboldt, a waste reduction educator with the county, said. “Basically, the way to kind of think about it is anything with a cord, a screen, a battery, they’re electronic and there is value in them and they should get recycled in some format or another.” Beyond the Bin: What actually belongs in your recycling bins

But how should they be recycled? Do we just put them in with the rest of our recycling in our bin? The answer is a resounding no.

“We don’t want them in those recycling bins. That’s where they can cause the problems,” Herrboldt said. “If it’s an electronic or a rechargeable battery, especially those lithium-ion batteries, those can be really dangerous for the trucks that pick them up.”

Herrboldt said that these batteries can cause fires that might be too big to put out inside a truck or a landfill.

However, the toxins that used to be used in alkaline or cell batteries do not exist anymore and therefore can be thrown away with regular garbage.

It’s the rechargeable and lithium batteries that the department of public works is worried about. That’s why they have set up several locations for you to drop them off to avoid any dangers or problems. One avenue is to take them items to one of the five SafeChem locations across the county. These locations take in items like batteries and appliances and either dispose of them correctly or store them for other people to take and use if they’re still operational.

If you still have questions regarding your recycling habits, you can find all of your answers with the new, revamped DPW website. Click here to learn more.

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