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PRINCETON — Though many Bureau County residents regularly recycle their cardboard boxes, newspapers and cans at their local recycling centers, the question remains as to what to do with batteries.

Princeton’s Superintendent of Streets Steve Wright said the Princeton Recycling Center does not collect or recycle any types of batteries at this time because the city does not have a vendor who handles the batteries. However, he said there are websites, such as Earth911, which can give local residents information on other recycling options for batteries.

Some of those battery recycling options listed on Earth911 include mailback collection sites as well as a listing of businesses throughout the country which collect batteries for recycling. Locally, several businesses collect at least certain kinds of batteries for recycling.

At Auto Zone in Princeton, Parts Sales Manager K.C. Fehlhafer said Auto Zone will collect and recycle old car batteries, up to five batteries per day. The person bringing in the old batteries will get a $5 store credit per battery, up to $25. The batteries must be automotive batteries. The old batteries are sent to the Auto Zone distribution center for further handling and recycling.

Steve Howdeshell, manager of the O’Reilly Auto Parts in Princeton, said his business also accepts old automotive batteries. The majority of those old batteries are collected through people buying new batteries and leaving their old car batteries. If the old battery is not brought in for recycling with the purchase of a new battery, then the customer is charged an additional $12. Any type of automotive battery can be brought to the store for recycling, whether car or truck, motorcycle or boat. The old batteries are taken to the O’Reilly distribution center for recycling.

The Princeton Walmart Tire and Lube Express Department also collects old automotive batteries. If the customer brings in the old battery, a core fee is dropped from the bill, a spokesperson said.

Looking at non-automotive batteries, a spokesperson for the Princeton Radio Shack said his store only collects rechargeable batteries. There is no limit to the number of rechargeable batteries which a person can bring to the store.

Other area businesses which collect and recycle certain types of batteries include Radio Shack in Kewanee and Peru, the Peru Auto Zone, the Walmart Tire and Lube Express in Kewanee, and Home Depot in Peru.

According to the Earth911 website, there are some recycling centers in the Chicago area which recycle single-use batteries, and there are also addresses of mailback sites.

More information on recycling options is available through the website. The privately owned, for-profit company has completed an Earth911 Recycling Directory which contains recycling information for more than 300 materials as well as information on recycling options and resources around the country. The company can also be contacted at 800-CLEANUP (253-2687).

Coming up in the BCR: The Bureau County Republican will continue its recycling series, looking next at what to do with old and unused light bulbs.

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