If vehicle batteries aren't disposed properly, chemicals in them pose a hazard.
By SEAN BARRON
YOUNGSTOWN -- Many Mahoning Valley residents are taking advantage of an alternative to tossing out their old car and boat batteries: recycling.
Recycling is "the best way to get rid of them," said Tim Marki, manager of a NAPA Auto Parts store on Youngstown's South Side.
Marki said he's had a steady flow of customers who are bringing in old car batteries, and that most people are receptive to the idea.
Marki's store is one of several NAPA stores taking part in this year's Great Battery Roundup program, sponsored by the American Automobile Association and NAPA Auto Parts.
In observance of Earth Day, Valley motorists are encouraged to recycle their vehicle or marine batteries.
The campaign, begun last year, is designed to collect dead and used vehicle and marine batteries to prevent lead and sulfuric acid from leaking into the environment. The compounds, both of which are a battery's main ingredients, can create hazards if they leak, said Brian Newbacher, the AAA's director of public affairs.
"Sulfuric acid is a toxic substance that can burn or poison humans and animals," he said.
Newbacher added that recycled parts can be used to make new batteries, and that storing old batteries in a garage or tool shed too long can pose a fire hazard. People shouldn't keep batteries in the garage for more than six months, Newbacher advised.
About 3,500 used batteries were collected and recycled in Ohio during last year's campaign, almost 50 percent of the 7,600 collected nationwide, according to AAA estimates. This year's goal is 4,000 batteries statewide, Newbacher said.
Motorists are asked to turn in their used batteries to any participating NAPA store. They will receive $2 for each old battery, as well as a $4 mail-in rebate coupon that can be redeemed at various NAPA stores throughout April and May.
The program will continue through April 30.