Battery Recycling Initiative Yielding Positive Results – The Dolphin

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Le Moyne’s battery recycling initiative has collected approximately one hundred pounds of alkaline batteries since its implementation last fall, meeting the goals of Le Moyne’s Physical Plant that oversees the program.

Last September, nine dedicated battery recycling containers were installed in multiple academic buildings across campus. Positioned in high-traffic areas, the containers not only provide a place to safely dispose of dead batteries, but they also promote environmental awareness.
Since September, the one hundred pounds of alkaline batteries have been recycled, while other types of batteries such as nickel and lithium are being recycled at lower quantities according to Eric Foertch, Director of Environmental Health, Safety and Sustainability at Le Moyne’s Physical Plant. The Physical Plant is monitoring the sorting closely, Foertch says, by organizing them into separate containers. If a substantial increase in volume occurs, they will contemplate expanding the program further.

In addition to providing a safe way to dispose of depleted batteries, Foertch said, the containers promote a greater awareness of the environment. For this purpose, as well as for providing convenience for the Le Moyne community to recycle batteries, the containers have been placed in areas with high foot traffic in the academic buildings, like the seating area outside the Dolphin Den in Grewen Hall or outside the English department in Riley Hall, in order to maximize their visibility and use.

“I think it’s just getting the message out, that we want to make sure we segregate this waste stream from the other solid waste stream of just trash,” says Foertch. “People seem to be participating well. We’re getting a decent volume of batteries coming back and we just want to
continue doing that.”

According to Father Coyne, Le Moyne professor and the chair of the Sustaining Earth Initiative, the program is in sync with the current Sustaining Earth initiative at Le Moyne’s McDevitt Center. The initiative was launched in 2015 to provide up-to-date information about environmental concerns and foster dialogue about potential solutions to these issues. The heavy metal content of batteries can be damaging to the environment if placed in landfills or incinerated. Coyne confirmed the importance of battery recycling awareness, saying that “any
such items can seriously contaminate the environment and, if recycled, can save energy generation.”

Students on campus have taken notice of the containers in the academic buildings. “I have seen the battery recycling bins around campus,” says Bella Beck, a Le Moyne Psychology major. “I think they are a good thing to have around campus for those who happen to use a lot of
batteries.”

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