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April 1, 2005

Get the lead out

Recycled batteries to benefit IBRRC’s Environmental Education Efforts

Photo of orphaned ducklings

Orphaned ducklings need your help.

T he Automobile Club of Southern California’s is asking motorists to scour garages, carports and yards for used vehicle, motorcycle, boat and airplane batteries. During the “Great Battery Roundup®” April 16 through 23, used batteries will be accepted at 96 designated recycling sites. Not only is there no charge to recycle the batteries, but for each battery “rounded up,” AAA Battery Service, will donate $1.50 to the San Pedro-based International Bird Rescue Research Center’s bird rescue and environmental education work.

The goal of the AAA “Great Battery Roundup®” campaign is to collect 1,200 batteries throughout the Southland. The battery recycling campaign is a national recycling effort for AAA affiliates. A list of the drop off locations in Southern California can be found at http://www.aaa-calif.com/corpinfo/05-04-01-gbr-list.asp.

Many batteries are illegally disposed in dumps and water sources, but many more are simply forgotten in someone’s garage, carport, yard, storage unit or shed. Nearly 95 percent of a vehicle battery can be recycled, including reusing the lead. Unfortunately, more than five million vehicle batteries are not returned for recycling each year.

"We are very grateful to Automobile Club of Southern California for helping educate the public about the danger of lead batteries that are discarded or improperly stored. This program provides the perfect opportunity to recycle lead batteries, and benefit non-profit environmental groups like ours," said Karen Benzel, IBRRC's public affairs director.

“The impact of vehicle maintenance on the environment can be an overlooked aspect of responsible vehicle ownership,” said Steve Mazor, the Auto Club’s principal automotive engineer. “Leaking acid can be a source of poison to children, animals and wildlife. Leaking lead eventually seeps into the ground, polluting soil, contaminating backyards and water runoff,” according to Mazor. Battery explosions also can cause painful chemical burn injuries, he added.

“With an estimated 210 million vehicles on the road in the U.S., the proper use and disposal of vehicle batteries, tires and various types of automotive fluids are crucial to a healthy environment,” Mazor said.

The roundup has been endorsed by the Environmental Protection Agency, a federal government agency that has encouraged motorists to participate in the campaign.

The Auto Club requests that:

• Consumers wear leather or protective gloves and safety glasses when handling batteries.

• For those transporting dead batteries for recycling, keep batteries upright and place them in a sturdy box or plastic container. Plastic containers can be purchased at local home repair and auto repair centers.

• If the battery case is cracked or leaking, be especially careful to choose a leak-proof container.

• Consumers should not smoke near, or expose the batteries to, an open flame and make certain they will not shift and tip over in a moving vehicle.

• Wash your hands thoroughly with warm water and soap afterwards, even though you wore gloves.

Individual consumers who have multiple batteries in need of pick up and recycling may call one of the local collection points near their home and request transportation assistance during the battery roundup.

During the rest of the year, the AAA Battery Service will support the effort by removing a used battery for recycling each time they install a replacement battery for an Auto Club member.

If you don’t have a battery to contribute, but want to be part of the campaign, contributions also can be sent to International Bird Rescue Research Center, 3601 S. Gaffey Street, San Pedro, CA 90731. Write GBR/San Pedro in the memo line.

Or donate online through PayPal:

Return to list of press releases

Media contact:

Karen Benzel, Public Affairs Director (IBRRC), karen@ibrrc.org
Office: (831) 622-7588

Carol Thorp/Elaine Beno, Auto Club of So. Calif., (714) 885-2333


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