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How to Dispose of Batteries

June 19th, 2013 - 3:51 PM

Do you need to get rid of batteries before you move?

If you are getting ready to move and cleaning out the junk drawer, you’ll want to properly dispose of your batteries. Not only is this safe for the environment, but also safe for you. For starters, you’ll need to understand what type of battery you have: alkaline, other (lithium, zinc, rechargeable), car batteries, or electronic batteries. Each type of battery has a different disposal procedure.

How to Dispose of Alkaline Batteries

Alkaline batteries do not pose a health or environmental risk as they are made of common metals like steel, zinc, and manganese. However, you should take care when disposing of them. If you have several alkaline batteries in a group, dispose of them separately. See, used batteries are not fully “dead,” and grouping them together may create a safety risk. You can throw separate alkaline batteries away into your household trashcan. But do not dispose of them in fire because they can explode.

Some communities offer alkaline battery collection or recycling, but it is rare. Check with your local city offices to find out what resources are available in your community.

How to Dispose of Lithium, Zinc or Rechargeable Batteries

Rechargeable batteries (except for rechargeable alkaline cells) should be disposed of at a collection point. Most Best Buy stores, Staples, or Office Depots have collection boxes. These batteries contain toxic materials and should not be thrown in with your household waste. What you throw out today, you drink in 50 years!

How to Dispose of Car Batteries

Car batteries contain heavy metals, acid, and plastic. It doesn’t matter their size or vehicle (car, motorcycle, lawn mower), they are hazardous waste. Car batteries need to be recycled, and in most cases, it is simple to find a place to drop them off. If you are buying a new battery, you can typically exchange them at your retailer. Many auto repair stores will accept used batteries, just call to make sure. Also, many local hazardous waste facilities will accept car batteries. Additionally, each year AAA hosts the Great Battery Roundup where you can bring your used car batteries.

How to Dispose of Electronic Batteries

Whether you have an old cell phone battery, computer battery, or device with built-in battery, you need to properly dispose of it. Simply throwing them away means that toxic materials like lead, mercury, and cadmium can end up in your soil and water. When you responsibly recycle your electronic batteries, you do the earth a favor. There are many places where you can take these types of batteries for disposal. Many Best Buys have a great electronic recycling program where you can bring your electronics, no matter where you bought them. Another solution is to find a certified e-waste recycling center. You can check e-stewards to find am EPA certified location near you, or ask your local recycling center where you can safely dispose of electronic waste. Be sure and ask what happens to your discarded electronics, as some will send e-waste overseas, which doesn’t help the environment at all. Responsible recycling centers will protect their workers and the environment with safe recycling practices.

If you have any other types of batteries to dispose of, check with your local waste management to find out how to get rid of them responsibly. If you have questions about battery disposal, please leave a comment. We will do our best to help you find a recycling location for your batteries.