By Lisa Scott
Special to The SUN
Keeping batteries and cans out of the landfills, reusing some materials that went into making them, and cutting pollution is the goal of 4-H with the recycling programs they offer.
Archuleta County 4-H offers opportunities for everyone in the community to recycle aluminum cans and rechargeable batteries.
There are four sites around the county where you can deposit your rechargeable batteries, and aluminum cans can be brought to the Extension Office any time at your convenience and placed in the recycling location on the south side of the building in the corner adjacent to the building’s south entrance.
The 4-H Club Wolf Creek Wonders began the program to recycle rechargeable batteries in 2011. Over 3 billion batteries are bought every year in America — that’s 10 batteries per person and that even includes babies. The chemicals in the batteries are highly toxic to our environment and the living things on our planet.
Boxes to dispose of your recycled batteries can be found in four locations: Ace Hardware, Ponderosa Lumber, Radio Shack and Sisson Library. Look for a small brown box that has signs for recycling. Drop your recyclable items in the box and 4-H members will collect them monthly. A huge appreciation to these businesses for allowing the collection boxes to reside at their locations.
Collected batteries are then individually bagged by 4-H members and put into a shipping container and mailed to Call2Recycle who process the batteries in compliance with the U.S. Department of Transportation safety procedures.
Some of the cell phones that are received are recycled through the “Cell Phones for Soldiers” program, which distributes the recycled phones to help our heroes call home.
All 4-H Clubs have been recycling aluminum cans for years. Cans that are collected are taken to City Market for the aluminum recycling price. The six 4-H clubs rotate on a monthly basis for taking the cans uptown. The money received from the recycling center is used to benefit the entire 4-H program.
Both recycling services are offered year-round and we encourage all members of the county to bring your rechargeable batteries and aluminum cans to the designated locations. Help 4-H and help your environment.
Rechargeable batteries are made from a variety of chemicals to give them power. Some of these chemicals, such as nickel-cadmium, lithium ion, nickel metal hydride, mercury and lead are extremely toxic and can cause damage to humans and the environment. In particular, they can cause soil and water pollution and endanger wildlife. For example, damage to the microorganisms in the soil can alter the breakdown of organic matter. Fish are affected which reduces their numbers and makes them unfit for human consumption.