This Summer: Relax and Recycle

(StatePoint) Summertime means family outings, vacations and spending time outdoors. Amid all the fun, it’s important to be conscious of your environmental impact. One small way you can be a force for positive change is by properly disposing of old rechargeable batteries once they no longer power devices. You probably don’t know it, but battery recycling touches more areas of your life (and vacation) than you realize.

Did you know that the materials taken from rechargeable batteries in popular travel items like hand-held fans, lanterns and other electronic gear are used to create new everyday products? When batteries are recycled, valuable metals are recovered and used in the manufacturing of new products like golf clubs and stainless-steel appliances.

The best part? Battery recycling is easy and can help protect people and property. This is particularly true of lithium ion batteries, which power laptops, cellphones and other personal electronic devices -- many of which accompany summer travels. When these batteries no longer power devices, they can retain up to an 80 percent residual charge, making it critical to properly handle, manage and recycle them to avoid a safety incident.

Not sure how to recycle batteries? Here’s a quick how-to guide:

1. Protect: Just like you protect yourself with sunscreen, it’s important to protect the terminals (ends) of batteries. You can either tape the battery terminals with non-conductive electrical, duct or clear packing tape or individually bag batteries in plastic bags (not grocery store bags).

2. Stay cool: While being shady is not usually a good thing, it is for battery recycling! Keep those batteries in a cool, dry place and aim to recycle them within six months.

3. Drop: Battery recycling is easy and convenient, as 86 percent of the U.S. population lives within 10 miles of a Call2Recycle drop-off location. The organization, which offers the country’s leading consumer battery recycling and stewardship program, recently marked its 25th anniversary. Visit their anniversary page to learn more about their battery recycling journey and impact, at call2recycle.org/25years and find a nearby drop-off site to get started at call2recycle.org/locator.

So, while you’re enjoying all things summer, be sure to add easy environmental acts to your list, like picking up litter on the beach, responsibly extinguishing campsite fires and recycling your batteries. These simple acts can make a big difference!

Photo Credit: (c) monkeybusinessimages/iStock.com

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