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Battery collection energizes waste diversion across Simcoe County

Over one million batteries were diverted from landfill during a collection program in Barrie and Simcoe County.
Use the battery bags sent to homes across Simcoe County to safely recycle dead cells.

The County of Simcoe and City of Barrie completed 22,800 kilograms of batteries, which is equivalent to approximately one million batteries during the curbside collection last week. 

“Hats off to all our residents across the region for participating in the program and for doing their part to keep harmful batteries out of our waste stream,” said Warden Gerry Marshall. “We’re proud to work with Barrie as we continue to advance our combined leadership in diversion and recycling initiatives.”

Mayor Jeff Lehman was pleased with the result.

“The success is thanks to a great partnership with the County of Simcoe and our residents who clearly showed us that this program is important to them. This is another great example of what can be accomplished through collaboration across municipal boundaries. I would also like to thank our waste collection contractor Progressive Waste Solutions for their hard work last week, collecting in less than ideal weather conditions.”

The County and Barrie joined forces on the program this year to create greater efficiencies and to grow regional participation. Preliminary data indicates that Barrie collected 4,300 kilograms this year, the first year it offered the program. The County collected 18,500 kilograms of batteries, which is roughly the same amount it collected last year. 

“Our initial launch of this program in 2014 saw residents dispose of stockpiled batteries from years of storage. This year was a great success, given that we only had to capture batteries accumulated over the past 12 months,” added Warden Marshall.   

Participation in this environmentally responsible program keeps harmful batteries out of the landfill or incinerator, and offers greater convenience to residents. In fact, the quantity of batteries collected by the County of Simcoe during the week is approximately four times more than what the County collects annually at their Household Hazardous Waste Facilities. The amount of batteries collected by the City of Barrie is equivalent to what the City collects annually at their Household Hazardous Waste Depot. 

Batteries have been sent for processing at an Ontario company that separates the various components of the batteries, with approximately 90 per cent of the battery components being recycled. The zinc and manganese recovered from the batteries are used as an ingredient in fertilizer.

The curbside collection of batteries is an important program to help ensure that batteries are managed properly.  Batteries thrown in the garbage can have a negative impact on the environment. As such, the County and the City are reminding residents who missed the 2015 battery collection week that batteries can be taken to a Household Hazardous Waste Facility throughout the year for safe, free recycling. 

Alternatively, both the County and the City are planning to run the battery collection week again in November 2016. The municipalities encourage residents to save their batteries and watch for the battery bag in the mail publicizing next year’s collection.