Is It Illegal to Throw Away Batteries?
Batteries, batteries everywhere, and no where to put them! Batteries are such a common part of our everyday lives that we don't realize how quickly we can accumulate them. Batteries are used to power virtually everything portable in our lives, from TV remotes to cell phones to handheld video games. Eventually, they all run out of power.
The problem is that the chemicals that give batteries their 'juice' to make these portable devices work are considered hazardous materials under California's Universal Waste Rule. 'Universal wastes' are hazardous wastes that are not isolated to only one sector of society; they are hazardous wastes used by virtually everyone. Batteries, specifically, contain cadmium, lead, potassium hydroxide, and a host of other toxic constituents that can cause irreparable reproductive disorders as well as kidney, liver and neurological dysfunctions. Up until February 8, 2006, California residents were allowed to throw away any 'spent' battery in the trash. However, since February 9th, all batteries have been prohibited from every solid waste stream in the state due to those toxic materials.
In 2006, CAW sponsored AB 2271 (Koretz), which would have established a 10-cent Consumer Refund Value (CRV) on all household batteries. This measure was modeled after the Bottle and Can recycling law in California (which allows one to redeem bottles and cans for cash when one recycles them.) It would not only have generated a lot of revenue for the state to fund battery recycling, but would also have created free and convenient recycling locations for all California residents to utilize. Unfortunately, AB 2271 stalled in the Assembly Committee on Appropriations. CAW is currently looking into reintroducing similar legislation in the future.
What can you do?
CAW Recycling News
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