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That alkaline batteries are no longer accepted for recycling at the Evanston Ecology Center and at big box retailers like Home Depot, as they used to be? The City of Evanston’s website says, “According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, household alkaline batteries, AA, AAA, C, D, 9V, etc., are benign by design, haven’t contained mercury or other heavy metals for over 20 years, and are approved to be put in the trash. However, rechargeable batteries contain heavy metals and mercury and should be recycled.” Consumer Reports advises that many try to recycle alkaline batteries anyway, pointing out that “while the chemicals inside may be less toxic than those in a lead-acid car battery, that doesn’t mean they’re safe or good for the environment.”

Rechargeable batteries can still be dropped off at Home Depot, but the closest drop-off site for alkaline battery recycling appears to be the Batteries Plus store at 5708 W. Touhy Ave. in Niles.  All Batteries Plus retailers accept alkaline batteries that they
mail to a recycler, for a fee of $1.50 per every two pounds of batteries to cover shipping costs.

Another option is a battery recycling subscription program through Big Green Box, a battery mail-in program based in Chicago, biggreenbox.com or through Battery Solutions, www.batterysolutions.com.

Note: Old batteries must be stored carefully to avoid sparking a fire, “in a secure container [like the original packaging] that keeps them lined up side-by-side, so the contact points can’t touch each other or brush up against anything that’s metallic
or conductive,” Consumer Reports recommends.