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Feb. 18 is Battery Awareness Day; Daylight Savings starts March 8 - change smoke detector batteries

February 18 is “National” Battery Day and March 9 is the time to “spring forward” to daylight savings time (and change your some detector batteries).

Battery Day is a time to recognize this special energy source, which powers the things that make our life more convenient and safer.

Daylight savings time is the day recommended by emergency preparedness experts to change the batteries in life saving devices such as smoke detectors.  However, if these ubiquitous power packs are handled or disposed of improperly, they can be dangerous to humans and harmful to the environment.

Battery Day Observance
For most people, every day is a battery day. Batteries are a critical part of powering our everyday life. From basic battery-operated devices like flashlights, radios, clocks, watches, and television remotes and toys to more complex devices like automotive vehicles, mobile phones, laptop computers, tablets and handheld game devices as well as life saving devices like Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors. Batteries power them all.

On February 18, as you celebrate the power of batteries and the opportunity to disengage and connect, to unplug and tune in …. let’s stay in tune with earth’s needs, make appropriate waste disposal, and recycling choices every day. 

As you spring forward to Day Light Savings Time on March 9, remember to change the batteries in your smoke detectors and other life saving devices and make a point of proper disposal and recycling.

For more information on how to recycle and properly dispose of materials in Prince William County use the A to Z Disposal Guide, .

Batteries are made from a variety of different chemicals and metals including alkaline, silver-oxide, nickel, metal-hydride, lead-acid, nickel-cadmium, lithium-ion, and zinc-carbon. When thrown in the regular trash, batteries decay in landfill sites and could leak into the groundwater, which may pollute soil and water in a community.

Battery Disposal
Proper battery disposal not only prevents pollution, it also conserves landfill space and saves metals and minerals that can be recycled and used in new products. Proper preparation of batteries for recycling is also essential to prevent fires while in transit.  Batteries rubbing together create the risk of sparks and fire. This puts waste management employees and property in danger.

“It’s important that you don’t place batteries in your regular recycling bin, or trash can.  Residents should take them to a battery collection site for proper handling,” stresses Scott McDonald, Recycling Program Manager for the county’s Solid Waste Division.

“When recycling rechargeable and single-use batteries rated nine (9) volts or higher, it is important to tape the terminals to reduce the chance of fire during transport and at the processing facility”, adds MacDonald. Simply place masking tape over the positive terminal of each battery or return it to the original packaging for safe in-home storage and transport. Use a plastic pail or cardboard box rather than a metal can for storage.

Proper handling and disposal are important.  Battery Day is an opportunity to celebrate the convenience and respect the potential hazards that batteries pose. Prince William County residents can take some types of household batteries and lead acid automotive batteries to the landfill or the Balls Ford Road Compost Facility every day.  Note, these facilities do not accept hybrid batteries used in electric cars.

Also, several retail outlets also make battery recycling convenient for many types of batteries. Home Depot, Lowe’s, Best Buy, Staples, and battery specialty stores like Batteries Plus and Interstate Battery all have battery-recycling programs.

Mom’s Organic Market has an extensive recycling center that accepts a wide range of battery types. Earth 911 and Call2Recycle are great online resources for battery recycling drop off locations, and battery recycling mail-in program options. 

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