this piece should appear as a “letter to the editor” in The Independent and The Redwood Times this week.
This Christmas I found a very special gift beneath a fir tree, about half a mile from my home, a cracked and leaking 12v deep-cycle marine battery. I found the battery behind a fir tree, about 6ft from the road, where it had been carefully placed to be invisible to the motorists who pass by. Fortunately I walk that stretch of road nearly every day, so I found my holiday gift before most of the lead and acid could leak into the nearby stream.
I realize that folks around here don’t seem especially concerned about the serious environmental crisis you face at the North Pole, what with the ice caps melting and all, but really Santa, have you lost your mind? Lead and battery acid are incredibly toxic to fish and wildlife, and I’m pretty sure that a 40lb slab of heavy metal pollution was not on the Mattole River’s Christmas list this year.
However, you know how much I love to recycle, and a battery like that is worth about seven dollars to the good people at the recycling place in Redway, right across from the hardware store. Seven dollars folks, for one battery, cash on the barrel-head, no questions asked. That’s real money! That’s enough to buy a fat burrito from Nacho Mama. Seven bucks will buy enough diesel fuel to get you back and forth to town in your huge jacked-up pickup truck. Really, who couldn’t use $7?
So, if you’ve got dead, useless 12v automotive, marine, deep-cycle, golf cart, solar system, or any other type of lead-acid battery lying around, don’t re-gift them to your watershed. I know you are glad to see the salmon return, but the salmon don’t want your leftover poison. Instead, bring your dead batteries to town, and trade them in for cold hard cash, in Redway.