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April 1, 2004

Getting the lead out Earth Day 2004

Battery roundup benefits orphaned duckling program and the environment

Photo of orphaned ducklings

Orphaned ducklings need your help.

T he Auto Club's (AAA) Great Battery Roundup, an Earth Day related campaign to recycle as many old batteries as possible, is not only good for the environment, but is helping International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC) feed and care for thousands of orphan ducklings.

Between April 19 through 24, every battery dropped off at locations in Vallejo, Vacaville, Fairfield and Napa, will put $2 into IBRRC’s orphan duckling fund. Last year, the bird rescue center, located on the edge of Suisun Marsh in Cordelia, successfully raised and released nearly 1,000 ducklings including mallards, wood ducks and gadwalls.

This year, the center is hoping to break records for the battery roundup and collect as many batteries as they can. The duckling enclosure they have designs for, is $15,000 short of funds, and unless a better enclosure can be built, staff fears ducklings may have to be turned away.

“We were really stretched to the limit last year,” said Michelle Bellizzi, rehabilitation manager for the center. “We desperately need a new duckling enclosure, and more volunteers, because we take ducklings from five surrounding counties. This year’s Great Battery Roundup could be the answer.”

Unfortunately, every year more than seven million batteries are illegally dumped in natural areas like rivers and streams, end up in landfills or the corner or someone’s garage. This doesn’t have to be; used vehicle batteries can be recycled, conserving 99 percent of the salvageable lead, sulfuric acid and petrochemicals. Tragically, only 95 percent of batteries are recycled, leaving millions of batteries leaching lead and sulfuric acid into the environment. Lead has a serious impact on human health and children are particularly susceptible. Lead poisoning can cause behavioral problems and learning disabilities. For waterfowl, lead ingestion almost always leads to death.

Deposit Sites

The Great Battery Roundup drop off locations that benefit IBRRC are as follows:

Napa: Napa Valley Tow, 265 Silverado Trail, 707-252-3000,
Mon-Fri 8:00-5:00

Vacaville: Vacaville Tow, 56 Commerce Place, 707-448-6340,
Mon-Fri 8:00-5:00; Sat 8:00-12:00

Vallejo: Wiler’s Towing, 1340 Lemon Street, 707-642-5108,
Mon-Fri 7:00-4:00; Sat 8:00-1:00

Fairfield: Roadrunner Tow, 1950 Walters Court. 707-437-6148,
Mon-Fri 8:00-5:00

If you don’t have batteries to recycle, but would like to contribute to the IBRRC Orphan Duckling Fund or our other programs, please go here:

Remember these Safety Tips: Wear gloves and safety glasses when handling batteries. Place them upright in a cardboard box or plastic container when transporting them for recycling. If the battery case is cracked or leaking, be especially careful to choose a leak-proof container. Do not smoke or expose batteries to an open flame, and make certain they will not shift or tip over in a moving vehicle.


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Media contact:

Karen Benzel, International Bird Rescue Research Center, karen@ibrrc.org

Office: (831) 622-7588


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