Officials with the Central Contra Costa Solid Waste Authority have spent some time recently working out the kinks in a program that will allow residents to keep their household batteries out of the landfill.
Under the program, residents can bring their household batteries into the Longs Drugs stores in Alamo, Blackhawk, Danville and San Ramon, as well as Danville Music, Radio Shack and Walgreens. The batteries are taken to a company in Phoenix that handles the breakdown and recycling of the batteries.
At the July 7 meeting of the Danville Town Council, Councilman Mike Shimansky reported on the CCCSWA's battery recycling program and expressed concerns about additional costs they felt were going to be levied in transporting the batteries to the recycling center in Arizona.
At issue was whether or not the alkaline based batteries needed to have masking tape placed across the anode and diode on each battery for safety reasons. Shimansky said the state regulations regarding the transportation of the batteries said that those parts of the batteries must be taped in order to prevent the batteries from sparking while in transit.
"This is going to cost about $45,000 to get the batteries taped," Shimansky stated.
CCCSWA Executive Director Paul Moreson said initially that was indeed the concern, but now they are confident that they will not have to spend the money in order to transport the batteries for recycling.
"It looks like that's not going to have to take place," Moreson said. "Some people did experiments and put the carbon/zinc/alkaline batteries together and didn't get a spark."
Moreson said that based on the study done, that company was given a pass by the Department of Transportation. Pacific Rim, the company which handles the pickup and transport of the batteries, also has received dispensation from the state to move the batteries in sealed containers without having to tape them.
Pacific Rim CEO Steve Moore said the main thing about the batteries is transporting them safely.
"We get thousands and thousands per month, but that's not a lot. We separate them by battery type and put them in 55-gallon drums and then ship them to the consolidater," he explained.
The reason the batteries are separated is to take out the lithium and rechargeable batteries. While their alkaline brethren do not need taping, the lithium and rechargeable batteries are expected to be taped to avoid sparking.
Moore said the main thing is to get the batteries separated and to keep the batteries dry. He added that the most important things are to avoid impacts and keep them dry in order to avoid leakage.
Residents are urged to drop off their batteries at one of the locations in the area and to be sure to tape the ends of lithium or rechargeable batteries.