Cal State Fullerton collects used batteries for recycling

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A recycling center for used batteries located in the Titan Student Union.
A recycling center for used batteries located in the Titan Student Union. (Brook Farien)

Cal State Fullerton has a system for the collection of batteries, which are processed and then taken to a nearby recycling facility.

The batteries are weighed — often accumulating to about 1,500 pounds — and are taken to a recycling center, said Michael Wilcox, who is the hazardous materials specialist and assistant chemical hygiene officer for Environmental Health and Safety.

“I think we are doing a good job, I have been working here five and a half years and I think there is more information or more awareness of the program than when I first got hired,” Wilcox said.

Stephen Karl, an instructional support technician who works mainly in McCarthy Hall, said there is a biology stockroom section for their batteries, which are disposed by a stockroom clerk.

Karl said they have a system of putting things back where they got them, so all the bought batteries are returned to the stockroom.

“We have our avenue, but I’m not sure what the students would be doing if they had empty batteries,” Karl said.

While most people don’t know they can actually recycle their batteries, fewer know there are two distinct kinds: lithium being rechargeables like laptop computers, and lead acid, which are like small car batteries.

Wilcox said from an industry point of view he wants students to have more awareness of the different kinds of lithium batteries, and how they should be recycled.

“When we start targeting the students, I think we need to expand it to the other colleges on campus,” Wilcox said.

While batteries do have dangerous properties, it is important to know how to handle and properly dispose of them.

CSUF’s Environmental Health and Safety website encourages students to send in their batteries through inter-campus mail to T-600 or fill out a hazardous waste pickup form.

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