Portland Debuts Curbside Battery Recycling Service for Some Residents

A growing number of U.S. cities offer this option.

CURBSIDE: A residential neighborhood in outer Northeast Portland. (Joseph Blake Jr.)

Portland is joining a growing list of cities and counties that will allow some of its residents to recycle batteries curbside.

The Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability announced June 10 that residents who live in a house, duplex, triplex or fourplex can take advantage of the new service.

BPS says this service comes after the rising problem of exploding batteries, disposed in trash or mixed recycling bins, causing fires at landfills and recycling centers.

But it’s also the case that the city is partnering with trash haulers to provide a service already offered by the startup Ridwell, which haulers see as a threat to their turf. The Portland City Council authorized Ridwell’s entry into the city—complete with battery pickup—in April 2022.

In the new city program, Portland residents are asked to collect batteries labeled “alkaline,” and place them in a zip-tight, quart-sized bag. Batteries that are not labeled “alkaline” should be taped at each end with clear tape prior to being placed in a quart-size bag. Bags should be placed in the yellow bin, along with any glass bottles and jars, making sure the bag is visible to the waste collection driver.

The service is not available to business and Portland residents who live in apartments, and are asked to find a nearby drop-off location to recycle batteries.

“While batteries are essential in our daily lives, they can pose a significant fire hazard if not handled and disposed of correctly,” the Portland Haulers Association said in a news release from BPS. “By taking the time to dispose of your batteries properly, you are preventing fires and contributing to the overall safety of our community.”

Portland joins other Oregon counties and cities like Clackamas County, Gresham, Beaverton and Sherwood in providing a curbside battery recycling program.

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