We’ve all made the mistake of throwing batteries in the trash, or worse, tossing them into our regular garbage cans and taking them to the dumpsite. But you may not know that many batteries, especially those that are bigger, can cause severe damage to the environment if they aren’t disposed of properly.
Read on to learn how to safely dispose of your household batteries and prevent damage to the environment and yourself.
How Can I Safely Dispose Of Batteries?
There are four main types of household batteries: zinc-carbon, silver oxide, alkaline, and lithium. All household rechargeable and non-rechargeable consumer batteries are subject to federal regulations regarding their disposal.
The most important thing to remember is that only dead, unused (flat), or leaking batteries should not be disposed of with regular trash, not just because it’s against regulations but also because these can be harmful if disposed of incorrectly.
Batteries should not be incinerated due to environmental concerns and being a fire hazard for neighboring structures and living things like pets and children.
Batteries often contain heavy metals and acids that can contaminate groundwater when thrown in your curbside recycling bin or picked up at a local store for disposal—and they’re considered a fire hazard during transport, making them difficult (and even dangerous) to ship out for recycling elsewhere.
The best way to deal with used batteries is to take them directly to a hazardous waste facility. If you don’t have access to such a facility near you, check your Yellow Pages under Hazardous Waste Disposal or call 1-800-CLEANUP for more information on the proper way to dispose of household hazardous waste like batteries.
How To Dispose Of Alkaline Batteries
With their flat tops and various colors, there’s no denying that alkaline batteries are easily confused with one another, which can lead to chemical leakage, damage, or even a tiny fire—not a good thing for your home or Mother Earth.
The key is recycling! This takes some extra effort on your part but will save precious resources in landfills and prevent chemicals from being leaked into groundwater or soil.
Check out Earth911’s guide on how to correctly recycle different types of alkaline batteries. Please remember what type they are by writing it down on a sticky note! Your green thumb is going to thank you later!
- Label all six battery compartments (or draw an X across them), so you know not to put any more in once they’re full.
- Separate all zinc-carbon, manganese dioxide, lithium primary, and alkaline batteries by size and shape (and labeling if possible).
- Put these five kinds of batteries into clear plastic bags labeled Rechargeable Batteries or Carbon Zinc. These types cannot be recycled through regular collection programs because they contain hazardous materials such as mercury.
How To Dispose of Lithium Batteries
Since they’re so versatile, lithium-ion and lithium-polymer batteries have become a standard component in our lives. They power laptops, phones, digital cameras, electric bikes, and e-cigarettes.
While we can’t imagine how we got along before them, most people don’t know that when it comes time to dispose of them, there are specific steps you must take to ensure their safe return to nature—and not into landfills or waterways. Here’s a quick guide on how to properly dispose of your used lithium-ion/lithium polymer batteries.
Lithium-ion/lithium polymer rechargeable batteries (AA, AAA, C and D):
To recycle these types of batteries, you’ll need first to remove their metal tabs (if applicable).
Then you’ll want to separate them into groups based on their size and chemistry—i.e., AAs from AAAs from Cs from Ds, and then take them to an approved e-waste recycling facility. It would be best if you didn’t mix different battery chemistries in a single container or bag as they can react together.
We’ll also emphasize that you should not discard your used lithium batteries with regular trash or hazardous waste. This is because lithium-ion/lithium polymer batteries are considered toxic waste by federal law and must be disposed of separately at authorized e-waste recycling facilities.
First off, let’s go over some essential rules regarding lithium batteries.
Under no circumstances should any lithium battery be placed in a fire.
Don’t even burn them for fun. It doesn’t work out well for anyone!
You should also never throw away used batteries; instead, bring them to an authorized recycling center where they can be safely handled. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, here’s how you get rid of your old batteries.
How To Dispose Of AA Batteries
By law, you should never throw batteries in your regular trash because they can harm humans and animals. You should drop them off at designated collection points for recycling instead. If you have a lot of AA batteries, it’s best to use a battery case or consider re-purposing them (like using one for your fire alarm).
Keeping tabs on which batteries are used and which are new is also important if you have a family member with special needs who relies on battery-powered devices as part of their therapy routine. One general tip is to place all used or new batteries in separate Ziploc bags so they can keep track easily by date and type.
How To Dispose Of Lithium-Ion Batteries
When you’re done with your laptop or phone, don’t just throw it in your regular trash! To save energy and our planet, follow these steps for how to recycle lithium-ion batteries. As technology advances, so does battery quality. Lithium-ion batteries are used in many devices, from laptops and cell phones to power tools and electric cars.
Recycling them is vital for keeping toxic metals out of landfills and oceans. Many jurisdictions require that household hazardous waste facilities accept universal (or rechargeable) lithium-ion cells for free recycling, making it easy for you!
If not, ask at a local computer repair shop or contact your city’s waste management facility about drop-off times and locations and rules regarding packing materials like cardboard boxes.
How Do I Dispose Of Lipo Batteries?
Lipo and NiCad, NiMH, and Lead-Acid batteries have different disposal procedures. For example, lipo must be soldered together in a bag and disposed of as hazardous waste, whereas NiCad can be thrown in a trashcan without any protective gear.
The best way to figure out how you need to discard your battery is by contacting your local recycling or hazardous waste department or checking out Battery University. You’ll find links to each state’s environmental protection agency and contact information for your county board.
Just click on your state and then search for waste disposal regulations. You should also keep safe from harm by using gloves when dealing with corrosive chemicals like alkaline batteries (which are just sulfuric acid).
Why Should You Recycle Your Old Batteries?
There are several reasons why you should recycle your old batteries. When you recycle your used batteries, it keeps them out of landfills and reduces electronic waste that can harm our ecosystem in various ways.
What’s more, when people recycle their used batteries, they are helping conserve natural resources and save money on future battery purchases.
It is important to note that not all batteries can be recycled. For example, due to safety concerns, car and alkaline batteries cannot be recycled. You may also want to contact your local government for information on how best to dispose of certain used batteries.
In addition, some states have specific laws about what types of products must be recycled, so consumers need to understand these laws before throwing away any products containing hazardous materials such as lead-acid or lithium ions.
Does Tesco Take Old Batteries?
Only rechargeable alkaline or nickel-cadmium (NiCd) or nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries, with a capacity of fewer than 100-watt hours, are accepted for recycling at Tesco.
These include commonly used household items such as cameras, handheld game consoles, laptops, and power tools such as drills and screwdrivers. Alkaline/ carbon-zinc button cells cannot be recycled through DoT TakeBack .
Customers will not receive a refund for disposing of their unwanted batteries in-store. Still, they can drop them off free at one of Tesco’s collection points nationwide, including all stores, Collect+ depots, and onboard London buses.
Can’t I Just Throw My Old Used Up Batteries Into My Trash?
Small amounts of some kinds of used-up batteries can be thrown into your trash, but in almost all cases, it is best not to risk polluting your landfills with harmful waste. Used-up batteries can contain various heavy metals and other substances that can contaminate soil and water systems, hurting wildlife and humans as well.
Suppose you really want to get rid of old used-up batteries. In that case, a few options are available: send them back to manufacturers or recyclers or donate them to charities with special recycling programs that don’t involve landfills. Another option is simply using them until they are dead rather than tossing them out altogether.
Safety Precautions When Handling Bad Batteries
Many people know it’s illegal and dangerous to throw used batteries in with their regular garbage, but they may not know what they should do instead. Make sure you properly dispose of your old or unwanted batteries by following these safety precautions:
Never touch a battery with your bare hands:
Batteries contain corrosive chemicals which can cause severe burns. Always wear protective gloves when handling batteries. If the battery leaks on your skin, immediately wash it off with soap and water for at least 15 minutes. If you get acid in your eyes, rinse them for 15 minutes; if discomfort persists after rinsing, contact a doctor immediately.
If any battery acid comes into contact with clothing or fabric, wash those items separately from another laundry to avoid staining other clothes (preferably using bleach). Dispose of gloves after use, so they don’t come into contact with anything else hazardous. Do not reuse disposable gloves as they are meant for one-time use only!
Identify what kind of battery you have:
There are many different kinds of batteries, but most home and car batteries fall under two categories: alkaline or lithium-ion. Alkaline batteries may be either single-use or rechargeable, while lithium-ion is always rechargeable. Both types should be disposed of differently to avoid safety hazards and environmental pollution.
Rechargeable Batteries – Recycle Them!
While some states accept rechargeable alkaline batteries for recycling, we recommend that you recycle your old rechargeable lithium-ion cells by returning them to where you bought them from instead. If you can’t return them to a store or manufacturer, contact your local waste management agency about how and where they should be disposed of.
Single-Use Alkaline Batteries:
Dispose of these in a clear plastic bag and throw it in with regular trash (not mixed with other recyclables). Never try to open an alkaline battery as they contain corrosive chemicals which could cause serious burns if they come into contact with skin or eyes. If any battery acid comes into contact with clothing or fabric, wash those items separately from another laundry to avoid staining other clothes (preferably using bleach).
Automotive Batteries – Take Them To A Recycling Center!
While most automotive batteries are lead-acid types that can be recycled at your local waste management center, some newer car models use sealed lead-acid gel cells that cannot be recycled. These types of batteries should be taken back to where you bought them from instead for proper disposal.
Lithium-Ion Batteries – Drop Them Off At A Recycling Center!
You can drop off old lithium-ion batteries at many electronic stores and big-box retailers like Best Buy or Walmart; ask your local waste management agency about recycling centers that accept lithium-ion cells too!
Even though there has been an increase in awareness, many people don’t know how best to recycle and/or dispose of their household batteries. A simple solution is for people first to use up all their current household batteries and then take them out for recycling once new ones have been purchased.
Doing so can reduce environmental pollution and save money on expensive battery disposal fees charged by stores when buying new ones with outdated products inside them!
With a little effort, we can all make sure our used household batteries do not become toxic waste polluting landfills or negatively affecting marine life by ingesting aquatic animals such as fish and turtles 🙁
Recycling and disposing of responsibly allows us to work towards a cleaner future for generations to come!