I Did Something With My Dead Batteries (As Did Many Others)

Photos by Broc Coward
10:30am | 
Just a little blast about the e-waste drive held Saturday by Councilmember Suja Lowenthal's office. In four hours, 325 people combined to drop off 17,473 lbs. of electronics, as well as 3,896 lbs. of documents to be shredded (handled by Shred-4-Good).
The event was organized to make things about as convenient as they could be for those of us dropping stuff off. We drove into the parking lot off Broadway Ave. just east of Long Beach Blvd. and queued sort of as one does at a fast-food drive-thru. At the front of the line volunteers helped you unload your devices and put them into a line of bins (see accompanying pictures). When I was there the line was maybe five minutes, and for most people it wasn't necessary that they even exit their vehicles. No fuss, no muss.

"The number of residents and businesses that participated in our e-waste drive and many others throughout the city speaks to the public's growing awareness and acceptance the need to recycle e-waste, rather than simply throwing it away," says Lowenthal. "It's great to hear people associate our e-waste drive with their annual holiday cleaning, [that] it's something they've come to expect every year. I am looking into adding a universal and maybe even a hazardous waste element to our event next year as a result of the Long Beach HHW facility being opened this summer."

In addition to the e-waste, Alex Galasso of BatteryRecycler.net was on hand to collect single-use batteries (which are considered household hazardous waste (HHW)—though sometimes referred to as "universal waste"). About 120 pounds of batteries was dropped off, even though arrangements to receive them were secured so late that most of the press material previewing the event said that batteries would not be accepted.

Inspired by such a community response concerning this form of HHW, in anticipation of the HHW drop-off facility's summertime opening (read more about that here), Lowenthal intends to supply each floor of City Hall—and perhaps business districts and associations citywide—with a Battery Recycler canister as sort of a challenge to collect batteries and raise HHW awareness.

Reminder: If you missed Saturday's event, you can always drop off e-waste at Goodwill, compact fluorescent light bulbs at Home Depot and Ikea, and single-use batteries at Best Buy. More information can be obtain via the Environmental Services Bureau (though they have yet to correct some of the misinformation there concerning what can be dropped off where, so it's always good to call ahead).
You can also mark your calendars for March 26, when the L.A. County Sanitation District will be holding an HHW/e-waste collection event in Long Beach at Veterans Memorial Stadium. Click here to visit the LACSD Website for details.

[1] A sign of the times: Broc Coward, Lowenthal's chief of staff, reports that his crew saw a noticeable reduction in the size of many of the electronics devices dropped off compared with previous years' e-waste drives, accounting for lesser tonnage than might have been otherwise collected.  



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