Recycling in Highland County Part 1 – Batteries


Folks in Highland County don’t have to travel far to recycle products that may be going in the trash.  In this two-part story, Allegheny Mountain Radio will take a look at a few ways to recycle some household items in Highland.  First up, Diane Klein, a concerned citizen, as well as an Elder and Clerk of the McDowell Presbyterian Church, speaks of a program at the church that involves the recycling of batteries.

Ms. Klein says, “We’ve been very concerned about batteries, and I think people are.  You don’t realize how dangerous they are.  When we discard them and put them in the landfills, they leak out mercury and all kinds of nasty stuff, and we found this program called The Big Green Box, and anybody can do it.  Just go to, and it’ll tell you how to do it right from the get-go.  What we do is, at the church, we buy the box through The Big Green Box program.  It’s $63.  We get a box fully setup and ready to go, and it sits out in our Fellowship Hall.  We’re open 24/7.  We never lock our doors, so you can come in any time, leave your batteries.  All we ask is that you put ‘em in plastic bags, and the plastic bags are there.  We provide those.  Actually, The Big Green Box provides them.  We fill it up with batteries that people bring in, and then we close it up, and we call UPS, and they come and get it for nothing.  It’s all paid for in that original $63, but it’s such a rewarding thing, and people don’t realize, they don’t know what to do with their batteries.  You know, what do you do?  And we have so many batteries, our phones, our cell phones, our everything, and how many times you replace them.  It’s really nice not to just be throwing these things away.  It’s a good feeling knowing you’re not doing a bad thing polluting our world.”

A variety of batteries are accepted.  Diane Klein continues, “It takes lithium.  It takes 9 Volt, A’s, C’s, D’s.  It also takes used cell phones, the large batteries, whatever they’re called, from, like, weed eaters.  The only thing, it does not take car batteries, so you have to find another way to dispose of those.”

The program has been in place for several years, and though Ms. Klein doesn’t have the total number of batteries the church has recycled, that number is high.  “Oh my gosh,” she says with a laugh.  “I couldn’t begin to imagine, Chris, it’s just, really, it’s such a, a huge amount.  The box takes up to forty-three pounds to ship for nothing, for us to pay up.  Forty-three pounds is a lotta batteries.  We do that about every four months, maybe.  We have a new box out.”

Ms. Klein encourages other organizations in the county to take part in helping out.  She concludes, “And I really would like to urge other churches or organizations to take it on.  It’s so simple.  You know, somebody else pick it up, too.  We won’t stop.  You just go online.  Go to , and get a box.  They’ll ship it to you, and you can advertise or get word of mouth and tell people, ‘Come on.  Bring your used batteries, and we’ll take care of it for you.’  And how simple that is.  And you’d just be amazed how many batteries come in.  I mean, just amazing!  The more people, the better.  We don’t want to pollute this beautiful county.  It’s our land, whether you farm it or not, whether you drink the water or not.  If it gets polluted, it leaches all through the system, and we don’t want that.  We don’t want that for our kids.  We certainly don’t want mercury, you know, in our kids, so I think it’s a worthwhile thing.”

For more info, McDowell Presbyterian Church can be reached at 540-396-3450, or Diane Klein can be reached at 540-396-6169.  In Part 2, we’ll let you know options for recycling shoes and small electronics.

Story By

Chris Swecker

is the Assistant Station Coordinator and a News Reporter for WVLS. He has roots in Highland County going back several generations, and he grew up in Monterey. Since graduating from James Madison University with a bachelor’s degree in Media Arts and Design, he has pursued his career at a news station and advertising agency in Virginia, on Microsoft’s campus in the state of Washington, and in both states as sole owner and employee of a video production company. He enjoys exploring life with his wife, Jessa Fowler, traveling, hiking, hunting, gardening, and trying new foods, all while discovering more about what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. He feels blessed to be a small part of this talented AMR team to help give back to the community that has provided him with so much.

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