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Monday, April 15, 2013
With Earth Day coming up Saturday, it seems like a good time to tackle some environmental questions. If you have old personal documents, batteries, paint and prescription medications you would like to get out of the house, read on.
Q: It seems like every year there is a recycle drive going on where you can bring your documents to be shredded. Wondering if there was going to be one this year?
George Bronson, Roanoke
A: In this age of identity theft and digital storage, shredding is one of the few sure ways to make sure that you can safely dispose of old legal documents and tax returns.
Cristina Siegel, executive director of the Clean Valley Council, says that HomeTown Bank is sponsoring a shredding drive in the Salem Lowe’s parking lot on Main Street on May 11. Complete details aren’t available yet, but last time they did this, folks could bring up to three boxes of personal documents for shredding.
Q: Where in the Roanoke area can we find someplace to take dead household batteries?
Elizabeth Parker, Roanoke
A: Great question: Americans throw away a lot of batteries. More than 86,000 tons of them are single-use alkaline batteries, and 14,000 tons of rechargeable batteries end up in landfills every year. Batteries have a lot of toxic chemicals inside them, so the fewer that end up in the landfill or water supply, the better. I admit that I’ve tossed a few myself, but it’s not that hard to save and then recycle them every few months.
Most rechargeable batteries can be recycled at Lowe’s, Home Depot and Radio Shack, which is only appropriate because they sell so many cordless drills, saws, toys and phones. Radio Shack also takes regular lead-acid batteries under 2 pounds per battery. They do not recycle rechargeable alkaline batteries.
Car batteries and other large lead acid batteries, as well as aerosol cans and latex paint, can be recycled at the Roanoke Valley Resource Authority transfer station on Hollins Road as part of their permanent household hazardous waste collections.
Household hazardous waste such as cleaning products, pesticides, and other chemicals is collected only on the third Saturday of each month beginning at noon, and you must preregister . You can learn more on the website www.rvra.net.
The service is provided only to residents of the city and county of Roanoke, and the town of Vinton.
While we are on the subject of recycling, don’t forget about safely disposing of old medicine. Flushing is not recommended, because trace amounts of all kinds of pharmaceuticals have the potential to turn up in the fish we eat and the water we drink.
The Roanoke Area Youth Substance Abuse Coalition is sponsoring a prescription drug take-back event on April 27 at eight locations around the valley. They’ll take your unused or expired medications and dispose of them, no questions asked. For more information, go to www.raysac.org.
If this puts you in an environmental mood, make plans to attend Earth Day Roanoke, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday in Grandin Village.
Have a question? An answer? Call “What’s on Your Mind?” at 777-6476 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to provide your full name, its proper spelling and your hometown.
Look for Tom Landon’s column on Mondays. Read the WOYM blog on roanoke.com anytime.
Weather JournalMix on Sat AM; coming blog changes