When I was young, my environmentally-conscious mother sat us down and told us about the two things we must never through into the garbage.
"Styrofoam," she told us, "must never be bought if you can possibly help it. If you can't, it get stored in the pantry until someone finds a way of recycling it. It must never go into the trash, because it takes three billion years to biodegrade, and you wouldn't want to live in a world filled with Styrofoam, would you?"
We agreed that we wouldn't, and she went on. "And NEVER," she warned, grabbing us by the shoulders to show us just how dissappointed she'd be should we disobey, "throw away batteries. If you do, they will leak battery acid into the Earth, which will get into the water supply and kill you and everyone you care about."
She may have overdone it, but it remains to this day that I have never thrown a battery away. I've even stopped other people from throwing them away, a move which usually gains me a look of equal parts confusion and pity.
Back in Minnesota, we had a local library that had a battery recycling bin, and once every few months we'd just deposit our dead AA's and AAA's and be done with it. But now that I live in California, I know of no such place. I've looked online, called the city, and nobody seems to know what to do with batteries around here. And so they have accumulated. A huge pile of them, in the door compartments of my cars (don't ask me what that became the chosen place). To save my loved ones, the batteries have piled up. Until last week.
With my new fancy phone (features include Google Maps, email and a bottle opener) came a battery recycling kit. A very intricate kid, it comes complete with a plastic bag and a label of where you can ship the battery from your old phone. Verizon then collects all the old batteries, and then, being the environmental ally it is, magically disposed of the batteries in a safe and PR-friendly way.
Well, had planned to keep my old cell phone, for use as an alarm clock. But I did have about 30 other batteries that needed recycling...
That package I put into the post office mailbox weighed about 3 pounds. You could have put it in a large tube sock and easily clubbed a person to death. Maybe even a horse. But hey, if Verizon has discovered the arcane secret of battery recycling in Los Angeles, I'm sure a latter carrier somewhere is willing to carry a little extra weight. And I'm more than happy to help them save me and the lives of everyone I care about.
By the way, I wouldn't go to these lengths for Styrofoam (sorry Mom). I personally think it would be kind of cool to live in a Styrofoam world.