Schools go head-to-head in battery charge

  • May. 4, 2011 3:04 p.m.

Red Deer’s third annual school battery drive competition kicked off earlier this week with students across the City collecting batteries for recycling.

The school that collects the most batteries, by weight and student wins the competition.

The competition, hosted by the City of Red Deer and Kerry Wood Nature Centre, will raise awareness and educate people about keeping batteries out of the landfill. Last year’s competition collected 3,990 lbs. of batteries from 20 participating schools. This year the goal is to collect 5,000 lbs. of batteries.

“Batteries contain compounds such as heavy metals that have the potential to damage land-fill liners and leach into groundwater. These compounds are dangerous to the environment,” said Todd Nivens, programs coordinator for the Kerry Wood Nature Centre. “We hope this competition raises awareness about this issue and encourages people to think beyond batteries. We want people to look at what they are sending to the landfill as there may be better options.”

The battery drive competition is open to all Red Deer schools, and there is no cost to participate. Schools will be given barrels to collect single use, alkaline batteries. Rechargeable batteries or lithium ion batteries, such as those used in power tools and cell phones, are not collected under this program. Cell phone retailers and tool retailers will accept those used batteries. Car batteries are not accepted.

The school that collects the greatest weight of batteries will win planetarium programming for their school – a prize worth about $500.

“Until we ran the battery drive, many people were unaware that batteries are considered household hazardous waste,” said Bailey Doepker, environmental program apecialist with the City of Red Deer. “It is great to see people excited about this program.”

Residents can drop off batteries and other household hazardous waste for free, year round at the City’s Waste Management Facility. This program accepts household chemicals including cleaners, pesticides, paint, car batteries and other hazardous items. The program does not accept motor oil or prescription drugs.

To enroll your school in the battery drive competition or for more information about it and other environmental education programs, call the Kerry Wood Nature Centre at 403-346-2010. Information on the City’s Household Hazardous Waste Program can be found at www.reddeer.ca/envservices or by calling 403-342-8750.

Meanwhile, Red Deer residents can drop off unlimited amounts of yard waste at the Waste Management Facility from May 2 to 7 during the City’s annual free yard waste week.

“The weather gave residents a late start this year in getting out and cleaning up their yards, now with the warmer temperatures most people are outside preparing for summer and we can announce the annual free yard waste week to accommodate the extra yard waste,” said Janet Whitesell, waste management superintendent.

Yard waste includes grass clippings, leaves, tree branches and garden material. By offering this program the benefit is twofold as it helps divert more waste from the landfill and the material can be turned into useful compost.

All plastic bags must be removed from the yard waste, and no garbage is permitted. Free drop-off is available to Red Deer residents only, and no commercial haulers are accepted.

Finished compost is available for sale at the site for $15 per cubic yard. Residents can also bag their own compost at $3 per bag. Bags are provided at the scale house.

The Waste Management Facility is located at 1709 40 Ave., just off the Delburne Rd. The facility will be open for yard waste drop-off, Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and on Saturday from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

For more information visit www.reddeer.ca/envservices or call 403-340-BLUE (2583).

-Fawcett

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