The city of Waterloo has made the process of recycling old batteries go from negative to positive with the installation of a new drop box next to City Hall.
Until Monday afternoon, community members had been able to drop off dead batteries in the City Hall lobby.
Waterloo Mayor Tom Smith said the city was receiving a five gallon bucket full of batteries each month.
That system has been done away with and replaced with a customized, battery-shaped drop box located just outside City Hall in the parking lot.
The drop box, which is similar to the type of receptacles libraries use for after-hours book drop off, contains two large buckets the batteries will be funneled into.
The drop box was constructed by Bill and Theresa Ebeler of Omega Products in Waterloo and the exterior was designed by Jane Kolmer of Action Graphics.
Tim Scheibe from Reliable Sanitation has agreed to pick up the recycled batteries several times a year.
In a press release, city officials stressed the importance of recycling batteries instead of just throwing them away.
Batteries contain harmful chemicals that can, over time, leak out from landfills into waterways and other ecosystems. More than 3 billion batteries are sold annually in the U.S. alone, and batteries contribute 88 percent of the mercury present in municipal waste.
“The more we each do to stop the spread of toxic materials, the healthier we’ll all be,” the press release stated. “You’ll also help to keep down the cost of new batteries (since recycled materials cost less than raw materials), as well as landfill operation and cleanup costs.”
Residents were also able to drop off old light bulbs in the City Hall lobby previously, but now bulbs are no longer accepted there either.
To drop off light bulbs, the city urges its residents to visit the county’s recycling center, located behind the Monroe County Annex building.
Hours at the recycling center are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon.
For more information on the new battery and light bulb disposal options, call City Hall at 939-8600.