June 20, 2018
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Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce starts battery recycling program

By Bill Trotter, BDN Staff

BAR HARBOR, Maine — In the vein of its light bulb exchange program, the Chamber of Commerce has plans to kick off a battery recycling initiative.

Beginning May 1, when the Chamber opens its new seasonal office downtown at the corner of Main and Cottage streets, anyone looking to recycle regular or rechargeable batteries will be able to drop them off in a blue bucket at the office. Chamber officials are encouraging their members to collect batteries for recycling, but anyone will be able to drop them off at the office, they said Tuesday.

Chamber officials announced the plan to recycle batteries at an Eggs and Issues forum attended by about 25 people Tuesday morning at the Bar Harbor Inn. Regular household batteries can be dropped off for recycling, but “wet” batteries such as car batteries will not be accepted, they said. Tape should be placed over the contact points or ends of the batteries before they are dropped off to prevent chemical reactions while they are in storage.

The recycling effort is an extension of a similar program it initiated in 2008 with College of the Atlantic, according to Heather Jones, the Chamber’s events director. In that program, businesses that belong to the local Chamber can trade in up to 25 incandescent bulbs for 25 compact fluorescent light bulbs, or CFLs, provided to the Chamber by COA.

Chris Fogg, the Chamber’s executive director, said the Chamber is taking steps at its offices to reduce its energy costs and carbon footprint. Chamber officials say such measures make good financial sense and help promote environmental stewardship of Mount Desert Island, where millions of people visit Acadia National Park every year.

“It’s an extension of the practices we’re trying to do in our offices,” Jones said. “It’s practicing what you preach.”

People at the meeting asked about the possibility of collecting batteries on their own and then turning them in bulk and about having collection sites at local business that sell batteries. Chamber officials said they would explore these options.

People at the forum also heard from COA student Lisa Bjerke of Sweden, who also spoke about the battery recycling program, and from COA President David Hales, who spoke about the college’s acquisition of Peggy Rockefeller Farms on Crooked Road, among other things.

Steve Robinson, field consultant for Efficiency Maine, spoke about rebates and incentives the state program offers businesses for improved energy efficiency. Details about the program are available online at www.efficiencymaine.com.

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