Recycling Challenge: Batteries & Light Bulbs

FACT

Each year, the average American discards eight batteries, and about 600 million fluorescent light bulbs make their way to landfills.

PROBLEM

Batteries and light bulbs contain heavy metals that can leech into the soil and groundwater around landfills. Things have changed since the last time we discussed batteries and light bulbs (April 2009 and May 2009, respectively). Many places no longer accept single-use (alkaline) batteries for recycling. The same is true for incandescent light bulbs, although there are a number of options for compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs).

SOLUTION

For batteries, the Big Green Earth Store (934 South St.) and area Whole Foods still accept the single-use variety. If you have worn-out rechargeables, you can take them to Best Buy, Radio Shack, Staples, Office Depot, Lowe’s or Home Depot. You can recycle CFLs at IKEA and Lowe’s, and Home Depot accepts incandescent in addition to CFLs. (Before you haul your batteries and light bulbs to the store, call to make sure they take exactly what you have.)   

You can also save up rechargeable batteries and CFLs for one of the City’s Household Hazardous Waste events (2012 events start April 28, phila.gov/streets/HHW.html). But sorry—they don’t take single-use batteries or incandescent light bulbs!