City: Most Batteries No Longer Need To Be Recycled Separately

CHICAGO (CBS) — Have you wondered what happened to all those battery recycling containers you used to see in libraries and other city buildings in Chicago?

WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports they’re apparently not needed anymore.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports

City crews have collected all the clear plastic household battery recycling bins, and they are not collecting the batteries anymore.

Karen Weigert, the city’s chief sustainability officer, says things have changed. Regular alkaline batteries no longer contain mercury, and thus are no longer considered hazardous.

“The Illinois EPA no longer recommends that they be separately handled. They can actually be disposed of in your garbage,” Weigert said, “and I admit, it’s a very weird thing that we looked into to be sure we understood that, but it’s a critical factor to think about what needs to be recycled and what has toxins, and those are the rechargeable batteries. I want to make sure that people continue to look for ways to recycle them.”

Weigert says rechargeable batteries can be recycled at many stores, and you can find them online at

  • Rob D'Arcy

    Since when did landfilling become sustainable. Wow, Chicago certainly has the wrong sustainability officer in charge. This isn’t just about toxics, this is about resources.

  • Heidi Sanborn

    I am surprised that a sustainability officer would recommend that a product designed for disposal from the start and made from materials that are mined and do a lot of environmental damage to obtain, would simply be “wasted”. Apparently discussions of “cradle to cradle” design and producer responsibility is missing in Chicago. The primary battery industry is responsible by the battery directive in Europe and producer responsibility regulations in provinces of Canada to take back and recycle their batteries. We need the industry to step up in the US. and comments like this undermine our efforts for producer responsibility programs.

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