Even Otto the Auto is Donating His Used Batteries to the AAA Great Battery Roundup

(LOS ANGELES, April 21, 2006) — The AAA Great Battery Roundup is under way, and the Auto Club is urging Southern California motorists, boaters and aviators to scour garages, carports, yards, sheds, storage areas and other places for used vehicle, motorcycle, boat and airplane batteries, and donate them at designated recycling sites.

For each battery "rounded up" and returned to one of the Auto Club's 209 designated recycling sites — AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities and Roadside Emergency Service towing contractors — from now until April 26, the AAA Battery Service will donate $1.50 to LA Surfbus, a group which provides first-time beach trips to low-income children.

The organization was founded by former US Women's Surfing Champion Mary Setterholm after she witnessed a child drowning on the beach in 1999. The summer camp draws thousands of children from Southern California to its program annually. At camp they learn about ocean currents, sea life, tides and waves.

Even Otto the Auto is donating his used up batteries to the AAA Great Battery Roundup recycling campaign. Otto is the 3-foot-tall robotic, battery-operated interactive car that uses songs, blinking headlights and a kid-friendly presentation to instill good traffic habits in young children. His presentations to K–2 students are free to schools as part of the Auto Club's Public Affairs outreach program. He's donating 3 batteries to the cause, said the Auto Club's Anita Lorz, who oversees the Otto the Auto program.

A city-by-city list of drop off sites is at www.aaa.com/battery. More than 30 batteries were collected in one day from Hawthorne. The goal of the AAA Great Battery Roundup campaign is to collect 1,000 batteries. The roundup is a recycling campaign for AAA clubs nationwide.

"The impact of vehicle maintenance on the environment is an overlooked aspect of responsible vehicle ownership," said Bill Howell, the Auto Club's AAA Battery Service Manager. Leaking battery acid can poison children and animals. It also seeps into the ground and pollutes soil and water, potentially affecting the quality of our drinking water supply. If batteries are disposed near the ocean, lead and sulfuric acid can threaten marine life, he added.

"The AAA Great Battery Roundup will help to remove batteries from the environment that can harm our ocean water from urban runoff," said Setterholm. "Our kids also will certainly benefit this summer from the funds generated by the recycling campaign," she added. "We very much appreciate that the Auto Club is making the public aware of dangerous discarded or improperly stored batteries," said Setterholm.

For those who don't have a battery to contribute, but want to be part of the campaign, contributions can be sent to LA Surfbus, c/o 302 19th St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. Write in Auto Club/AAA Great Battery Roundup in the memo line of the check.

The Auto Club suggests the following battery recycling safety tips:

  • Consumers wear leather or protective disposable gloves and safety glasses when handling batteries.

  • For those transporting dead batteries for recycling, keep batteries upright and place them in a sturdy box or plastic container. Plastic containers can be purchased at local home repair and auto parts centers.

  • If the battery case is cracked or leaking, be especially careful to choose a leak-proof container.

  • Consumers should not smoke near, or expose the batteries to, an open flame and make certain they will not shift and tip over in a moving vehicle.

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with warm water and soap afterwards, even though you wore gloves.