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Earth Day is Tuesday, but AAA Oregon/Idaho commemorates it for the whole month with the annual AAA Great Battery Roundup. During the entire month of April, participating AAA Oregon/Idaho Approved Automotive Repair (AAR) and Total Repair Care (TRC) facilities will accept, at no cost, used automotive or marine lead-acid batteries and send them to plants where they can be recycled into new batteries.

“We want to lasso those stray batteries and keep them out of landfills. Thousands of car batteries give out every day and recycling them means that the lead can be used in the production of new batteries,” AAA Oregon/Idaho Public Affairs Director Marie Dodds said.

“Used vehicle batteries are potential fire and safety hazards because of their lead and sulfuric acid content. Some of these old batteries are illegally disposed of in Dumpsters, or are simply placed in family garages, yards or storage sheds where they could leak and contaminate the soil and groundwater, explode and cause a fire, or become a source of lead poisoning to humans and animals,” said Steve Fox, AAA Oregon/Idaho Director of Automotive Services.

Car batteries contain about 18 pounds of lead and a pound of sulfuric acid, making them extremely hazardous. Almost all parts of a vehicle (lead-acid) battery are recyclable and currently about 98 percent of the lead from auto and marine batteries is recycled.

The plastic is chipped, washed and delivered to a plastics plant, where it is melted and made into new battery cases and other parts. The lead is melted, poured into ingots and delivered to battery plants to be used in new batteries. The sulfuric acid can be reused on a limited basis or can be neutralized.

The AAR/TRC facilities in Oregon and Idaho usually receive hundreds of old batteries every April during the AAA Great Battery Roundup. Anyone wanting to recycle old batteries should follow basic safety procedures:

n Wear gloves and safety glasses when handling batteries.

n Keep the batteries upright and transport them in a sturdy box or plastic container.

n Make sure the batteries do not tip over in a moving vehicle.

n If the battery is cracked or leaking, place it in a leak-proof container.

n Do not smoke near the battery or expose it to an open flame.

About 160 AAA Oregon/Idaho AAR/TRC facilities are Great Battery Round-up drop-off sites. For a complete list of participating facilities, call 800-AAA-HELP or go to AAA.com/battery. Collectively, AAA has helped return more than 8 million spent batteries to recycling centers in North America.

The Great Battery Roundup is one of the activities organized by AAA and coordinated by AAA Approved Auto Repair and Total Repair Care shops.

Approved Auto Repair facilities must meet AAA requirements that include customer satisfaction, trained technicians, and proper tools and equipment.

For more information, visit AAA.com. AAA Oregon/Idaho provides more than 750,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services, and is an affiliate of AAA National, serving more than 54 million members in North America.

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