What Happens to the Shane Lounge Batteries?

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

The small recycling bin labeled “batteries” is an unremarkable item in Shane Lounge. But where, asked one Gazette reader, do the batteries go from there?

Ralph Thayer, Director of Maintenance at Swarthmore College, reports that the batteries are periodically collected by Maintenance and then brought to the Service Building. Once the limits of storage have been reached, a call goes out to AERC Recycling Solutions, which collects the batteries and provides a manifest of the transaction.

Battery recycling is part of Swarthmore’s larger campus wide recycling program. The college itself contributes with car and radio batteries expended by the college’s day to day operations.

The bin accepts all sizes and types of spent batteries. The range of batteries found is very diverse according to Thayer, who says the batteries range from “pill sized watch batteries and cell phone batteries up to big things that I have no idea what they power.”

However, maintaining the bin is no easy task for Swarthmore Maintenance. Batteries are made of very dense materials and can be remarkably heavy. Thayer says he would “rather pick up an sack of concrete.”

Want to know more about Swarthmore’s environmental tactics? Ask us!

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