Town attempts to find solutions for new battery law
January 30, 2006
Californians will no longer be allowed to throw out batteries with the rest of their trash starting Feb. 9.Both the Town of Truckee and its waste-hauler, Tahoe Truckee Sierra Disposal Co., are working out ideas to make disposal of these items convenient for Truckee residents. As of yet, no programs exist, and residents should bring their batteries to the Eastern Regional Landfill on Cabin Creek Road. Along with household batteries of all varieties, fluorescent lights, mercury thermometers, and electronic items – such as telephones, radios, videocassette recorders, microwave ovens and printers – will also require special disposal. The ban is targeting products that contain mercury and other heavy metals, which can often rupture in the landfill and leach their toxins into the environment. A ban on disposal of these items has been around since February 2002; however, households and small businesses were exempt from the restriction.Noncompliance with the law could result in a fine up to $25,000. Enforcement, though, will admittedly be difficult. Ron Baker, spokesman for the California Department of Toxic Substances Control, likened it to jay-walking.”Certainly, we’re not going to go door to door looking in people’s trash,” he said.Baker, though, said he has faith that people would abide by the law. “I think what you’ll find is that most Californians care about the environment,” he said. “If you tell people what to do and why, they’ll act responsibly.” The Town of Truckee has begun to talk about ways to make it easier for people to dispose of the items. The town’s recycling coordinator, Nicole Dorr, said no specific plans exist yet. However, some programs town officials have discussed include drop-off points for batteries at local stores, or letting residents put the batteries in a separate bag, which they could then put in with their regular trash.