CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Americans go through billions of them every year, but what do you do with your household batteries once they’re dead?

Don’t throw them into the trash, recycling officials here warn.

Military housing regulations on Okinawa require residents to separate alkaline, lithium and NiCad batteries from their trash and take them to designated drop-off points, said Walter Ham, a Kadena Air Base spokesman.

Kadena has battery collection sites at the Eagle Hardware Self-Help store, in Building 1474, and at the main post office, he said.

There are also drop-off points at the Eagle Hardware stores on camps Kinser, Foster and Courtney.

At Camp Foster, batteries are collected at the exchange, the commissary and two shoppettes.

But batteries are still ending up in the trash and clogging the Okinawa City landfill used by the military, said Chris Zachary, an environmental support team supervisor with Foster Recycling Center.

Batteries that end up in landfills can contaminate the environment, posing potential health risks.

In fiscal year 2008, the Joint Environmental Material Management Services collected more than 417,800 pounds of household-style batteries from Marine units on Okinawa, Zachary said.

Zachary is hoping to make battery disposal a little easier for residents of Marine bases by establishing additional drop-off points this month at post exchanges, commissaries and shoppettes.

"There are a lot of batteries out there, and we want to get it out of the trash," he said.

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