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[whitespace] Battery Blues

By Traci Hukill



The news on the battery-recycling front is grim. Batteries don't biodegrade and create all kinds of toxic ooze in a landfill, but most local recycling agencies say that tossing alkaline batteries in the trash is OK because there's no other option. That's not exactly true: Those with plenty of leisure time can package up their used Copper Tops and mail them to Power Express Batteries at 9393 Gateway Drive, Reno, NV, 89511, Attn: Recycling. But short of running up a big tab with the local post office, there is no convenient way for most South Bay residents to recycle regular household batteries. The exception, wouldn't you know it, is for Palo Alto residents, who can put any kind of battery out with the rest of their recycling every week. South County residents might not mind the trek to the San Martin transfer station at 14070 Llagas Road, which accepts all kinds of batteries for recycling.There are more options for recycling toxic nickel cadmium, or NiCad, batteries (these supply juice to portable and cell phones, camcorders and many power tools). Most Radio Shack stores accept used NiCad batteries, for one. Failing that, the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corp. hotline (800.8.BATTERY), which features the voice of the guy who played Al on TV's Home Improvement, directs people to NiCad recycling pickup points. A brush with stardom and a vote for nature--pure recycling satisfaction.

Cute little "button cell" batteries like the ones in watches are frightfully toxic. Many jewelry shops accept them for recycling, however. Car batteries are easy to recycle; most automotive shops do it for you and even pay you to boot. And as for nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) and lithium-ion batteries that power laptop computers--they're less poisonous but less convenient to recycle. The best thing to do is get down on your knees and pray for your sorry, polluting soul, because there's no place to send them but Reno.

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Streamlined Living: Pare down and live simply.
    Dispose of the Obsolete
    Nitty Gritty
    Toss It Out

Put Up Yer Dukes: Don't get mad, get even.

Cruising: Transit made simple.

Soul Relief: Free your inner self.

Get in on the Gold Rush: Grab a fistful of cash and join the party.

Domestic Bliss: Make your house into a home.

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From the March 16-22, 2000 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2000 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

For more information about the San Jose/Silicon Valley area, visit sanjose.com.




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