Shoppers Drugmart throws used batteries in the garbage

Shoppers Drugmart throws used batteries in the garbage

December 28, 2011 | organization | No Comments

Today, December 27, around 4 pm, I visited Shoppers Drugmart in Sechelt, BC to buy a replacement battery for my watch. When I saw that the young clerk behind the Digital counter was about to throw my used battery in the garbage can, I stopped her in disbelief. I asked her if they threw all their used batteries in the garbage and she said yes. I told her there were at least two battery recycling services close by on the Sunshine Coast and asked to make a written complaint. She offered to call the supervisor and the supervisor confirmed their policy was to throw used batteries in the garbage.

Admittedly, this supervisor is new to the Coast and may personally just not know where these recycling depots are located but I was extremely shocked to find that Shoppers Drugmart would not have a storewide recycling program for toxic products in place in 2011. In fact, I drew my conversation to a jaw-dropped close with her when I asked what she did with her own used batteries at home and her other recyclables. She said she had no (curbside) recycling service where she lived, in upper Roberts Creek and so she did not recycle. Anything. I mentioned that Gibsons did not have a curbside recycling service but we do have two very accessible locations in Gibsons to take used batteries, London Drugs and Gibsons Recycling Depot which takes pretty much everything recyclable and is staffed by very pleasant and competent people from 8 am to 5 pm daily and that I am very happy drive my own recyclables to their depot when my personal containers get full.

If Shoppers Drugmart does not wish to actually become a battery recycling depot (which is fine), I would be glad to show the Digital department (where batteries are sold) how to place used batteries in a Ziplock bag (I would be glad to donate a box of premarked Ziplock bags) marked with a black Sharpie pen and put in the bottom of some drawer. I could also print them out a map so that when the used battery bag was filled, it could be driven by a staff or even a eco-conscious customer to the battery recycling depots in very nearby Gibsons, about 20 minutes down the road.

It’s extremely disheartening in December 2011 to find that staff educated enough to be store supervisors would not care to or know how to recycle used batteries that are a terrible global health hazard in our landfills. It’s also very disheartening to find that there is no store policy to handle these toxic batteries they so readily sell.

I look forward to your response to my ecological global health concerns and have facebooked and posted this letter on my widely read blogs.
Yours sincerely-
Paula O’Brien
art and musings…..
Twitter PaulaArtiss

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  1. Reply


    December 28, 2011

    Really informative, save the earth from used batteries…

    • Reply


      December 28, 2011

      I know used batteries are a drop in the bucket but individuals can only do so much. If we all make more careful choices about what products we buy and how much we use and how we dispose of them, we can do much to decrease the our toxic burden on our own bodies, our precious water supply and this small planet we call home.

  2. Reply

    Barbara Seifred

    December 28, 2011

    I thought I had read that stores that sell batteries were REQUIRED to take back and recycle the used ones.
    Hmmm, I wonder what the law is?

    According to the Recyclepedia ( “Batteries ‘can’ be returned to ‘participating’ retail stores, as well as some municipal recycling depots and transfer stations. To reduce the impact of batteries on the environment, choose rechargeable batteries instead.”
    Good advice, but no teeth.

    I will be sure to challenge the new Shopper’s Drug Store about to open at my corner.

  3. Reply


    January 3, 2012

    January 3 email from Shopper Drug Mart
    Hello Paula,

    Thank you for writing to us about your experience at the Shoppers Drug Mart located at Trail Bay Mall. We apologize for the disposal of used batteries at this store and for any inconvenience that this may have caused.

    At Shoppers Drug Mart, we promise to provide superior customer service that goes beyond your expectations every time. We were sorry to read that, this time, your experience did not reflect these standards and, again, we sincerely apologize.

    Your comments and concerns are important to us and we have forwarded them to the Management Team at the store for further investigation and to follow up with you directly.

    Thank you again for bringing this matter to our attention and allowing us to improve our services to our customers. Please do not hesitate to contact the Customer Call Centre at 1-800-SHOPPERs should you have any further questions or comments.


    Shoppers Drug Mart Customer Service

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