Douglas Fischer in Inside the Bay Area reports on a volunteer project to collect waste batteries in effort to help residents comply with the state's Universal Waste Ban. Marie Kahn with Sustainable Moraga explains that she and other volunteers set up battery collection locations at 6 retail stores in Moraga (East Bay Area), and they have been taking turns driving the collections to their local HHW facility in Martinez. It's a long drive, but Marie feels it's worth it. However, Moraga consumers have been turning in their used batteries faster than the volunteers can collect and recycle them, and now the group is hoping either professionals or a state law can step in and help them out.
MORAGA — Myrto Petreas and two friends did not imagine success could be so bittersweet when they started an ad hoc battery collection program in this quiet community in Contra Costa County.
Petreas, a research chemist; Marie Kahn, a retired high school English teacher; and fellow resident Leslie Engler put buckets in stores throughout Moraga and offered to properly dispose of batteries.
On one hand, they collected 1,600 pounds of dead Duracells and expired EverReadies in seven weeks.
On the other, the women discovered they could not lift a five-gallon bucket full of batteries — it weighs 70 pounds.
And, to their great shock, they learned the state law classifying batteries as hazardous waste — and therefore making them off-limits from your household trash bin — also prohibits the transport of more than 125 pounds at one time without a permit.
And that could sound the death knell for their small program.
With AB 2271 about the go through it's first Assembly Committee on April 17th, groups like Kahn's are hoping this measure can alleviate the burden of illegal battery disposal while still incentivizing consumers to recycle.