Target: US EPA Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery
Goal: Implement incentive programs to convince Americans to recycle their used batteries
Americans are getting increasingly better at discarding soda cans and newspapers into recycling bins. However, many people are still clueless about what to do with old batteries. By simply throwing old batteries into the trash, we are drastically increasing the toxicity levels of our growing landfills. Hundreds of thousands of improperly disposed batteries from our electronic games and portable devices are tossed into landfills each year, creating lead and mercury leaks that seep into our ground water.
Since our nation’s drinking water supply is extracted from ground water, improper battery disposal inevitably puts our health at risk. Water contaminated with lead affects the nervous system and brain, causing learning problems, muscle pains, and digestive issues. Mercury contamination also causes neurological symptoms including severe headaches, memory loss, and gastrointestinal upset.
These health issues are preventable if we simply recycle our batteries. Rechargeable batteries are a practical and affordable alternative to disposable ones. If disposable battery usage can’t be avoided, several directories provide information about where recycling facilities are located. Websites like Earth 911 and Batteries Plus are excellent resources for recycling information.
To encourage U.S. citizens and companies to take advantage of battery recycling facilities, the EPA should implement incentive programs to reward safe disposal practices. The EPA should support and fund programs that encourage businesses and public spaces to become recycling collection sites for public use. Registered collection sites should then be featured on the EPA’s website to bring national recognition and increased business to organizations helping reduce harmful waste. The EPA should also support and fund programs for battery manufacturers to improve their processes, meet emission targets, and agree to take back used batteries for proper recycling.
Sign the below petition to urge the EPA to support and fund battery recycling incentive programs to ensure that our water is safe for public use.
Dear Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery,
Improper battery waste disposal is causing unsafe levels of lead and and mercury to enter our nation’s drinking water. When citizens and companies dispose of old batteries in landfills, toxic chemicals seep into the ground and contaminate water we depend upon every day.
I am urging you to support and fund incentive programs that reward both citizens and companies for utilizing recycling facilities that ensure deadly toxins stay out of our water sources. Please take action to educate the public about the importance of proper recycling techniques and the deadly consequences if these techniques are not taken advantage of.
Effective technology for proper battery recycling exists and is accessible in many regions of our country. Although this is a step in the right direction, I am urging you to take the next step with recycling incentive promotion to ensure that our families are safe and healthy.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Alyssa L. Ochs