Urbana’s Battery Recycling Program Celebrates 10 Years
This month marks the 10th anniversary of the City of Urbana’s battery recycling drop-off program. Since November 2007, the City of Urbana has been collecting single-use and rechargeable batteries from five drop-off locations in Urbana, including the Anita Purves Nature Center (1505 N. Broadway Ave.), Phillips Recreation Center (505 W. Stoughton St.), Urbana City Building (400 S. Vine St.), Urbana Free Library (210 W. Green St.), and Urbana Public Works (706 Glover Ave.).
In the past decade Urbana has recycled nearly 70,000 lbs. of single-use and rechargeable batteries, averaging 7,000 lbs. per year. Acceptable batteries in the drop-off program include single-use alkaline (AAA, AA, C, D, 9V, 6V); lithium batteries; button cell batteries (such as watch batteries and hearing aid batteries); and rechargeable batteries including nickel-cadmium (Ni-Cd), nickel-metal hydride (NiMH), lithium ion, and small-sealed lead acid (less than 1 lb., no car/truck batteries). All rechargeable batteries, lithium batteries, 6-volt and 9-volt batteries must have both terminal ends taped with electrical or duct tape per U.S. Department of Transportation recommendations.
Courtney Kwong, recycling coordinator for the City of Urbana, says the city-run battery recycling drop-off program began in 2007 after a local non-profit agency was unable to continue to do so due to rising costs from the popularity of the program. “The city stepped in to continue the program and established five battery drop-off locations in Urbana,” Kwong said. “It was an overwhelming success with multiple locations needing collection twice per week to keep up with demand!” Kwong says that the city ships out two 55-gallon drums of batteries every other month to a battery recycler in Michigan. “Batteries at the Michigan facility are sorted by type, plastics are removed, and then metals are recycled into different components. For example, alkaline batteries are mechanically separated, with end products being zinc and manganese concentrate, steel, and fractions of paper, plastic and brass ”Kwong said. “By recycling these batteries and diverting them from a landfill, it has prevented heavy metals such as lead, cadmium and mercury from potentially contaminating groundwater or waterways. The program has been a resounding success!”