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Part of selling new batteries and lightbulbs is that we also dispose of the old ones properly. You’re not supposed to just throw any of that in the trash because it contaminate ground water, cause fires, etc. So we gather them up and ship them off safely to a recycling facility.

Generally when someone brings us the old battery to show us what they are looking for, we ask if they want us to recycle the old one for them. Really the only reason to hold on to it would be that it still works. But some people get apprehensive at the word recycle. “Do whatever you want with it, I don’t care!” is the most common response, followed by “Yeah, you can throw it away.” Because I’m me, I always correct them and let them know it’s getting recycled, even if they’re not into “that hippie bullshit.”

Sometimes people will ask us to dispose of them, and that’s no problem. The only catch is that one certain kind of battery has to be shipped in an extra-special way which costs the store money. So we in turn charge the customer. It’s a small amount (normally less than a dollar), and we’re not making profit from it, but many people don’t want topay us for something they could just do at home. I repeat to them that we’re actually not throwing them away, and that’s technically illegal, but all they hear is “this will cost money.”

On the flip side, some folks are upset that we don’t pay them for bringing in their recyclables. Since we don’t make money off the service, we can’t afford to give money out for it. However, these people are of the mindset that if there’s no financial incentive in it, it’s not worth doing. Nevermind the contaminated ground water or explosions I mentioned before. But these people will spend time and energy hunting for a place that will reward them for not poisoning the earth. rather than just bringing them to us to dispose of properly.

Now don’t take this as me preaching the Gospel of Mother Earth and how we have limited resources and all that. It’s just that I spend my days around battery acid. I’ve seen what it does to clothes, skin, and various other materials. I don’t want that stuff anywhere near my food or water. Or my as yet unborn children. But sadly I’m not like most people, who have a “what’s in it for me?” attitude.

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