How-to Properly Dispose of Used Batteries

Batteries are used for just about everything we use in our everyday lives such as cars, flashlights, cell phones, and computers. Once batteries are dead, most people tend to just toss them in the trash. What many people don’t know is that batteries contain caustic chemicals that are harmful to the environment. This is why you should always take extra care to dispose of batteries in the proper manner.

First of all, what type of battery are you getting rid of? Alkaline batteries are the most common types that we use today. These batteries range from AAA up to 9 Volt. Alkaline batteries are often used in toys, remotes, flashlights, and other items that require typical operation. Alkaline batteries made before 1996 can usually be tossed directly into the trash because they weren’t manufactured with hazardous materials. However, some states have certain requirements when it comes to battery disposal. Some jurisdictions may require you do drop off your used batteries at a designated location. Others may have a specific type of disposal can placed on the curb with the trash. If you are unsure, always call you local solid waste disposal company for more information. Car batteries certainly cannot be placed in regular trash or taken to a recycling facility. These types of batteries contain acid and they usually leak. Most municipalities will provide a listing of waste disposal facilities where you can dispose of car batteries. Even retailers like Auto Zone or Home Depot will take used car batteries off your hands. Rechargeable batteries should also be taken to a recycling facility. These batteries contain cadium and nickel, which can also harm the environment. Check around with local electronics dealers to see if they accept rechargeable batteries. The same goes for lithium batteries. Drop them off at a hazardous waste center or see if an electronics dealer will take them for recycling.
Button batteries that go in hearing aids and watches also pose a potential environmental risk. These batteries contain toxic and hazardous materials and should never be simply placed in the trash. Button batteries should also be taken to a proper hazardous waste collection site for disposal.

If you have batteries you want to dispose of, always get the proper information regarding disposal. Many types of batteries pose environmental dangers and significant health risks if they come in contact with children. So always take special care when storing and disposing of batteries.