Did You Know You Can Recycle Household Batteries?

Batteries make the world go round…

Batteries are used in everything from cars to trucks to phones to toys. You probably have a variety of battery types and sizes in your home right now and might even have several lying discarded in a junk drawer. Perhaps you don’t know the proper way to get rid of them for good.

You’re not alone.

That’s why cities and state governments have created different recycling options for batteries. These recycling efforts have been quite successful with standard lead batteries.

To learn more about recycling batteries of all types, read on. We’ve got the information you need to stay safe, be kind to the environment, and avoid breaking rules. To learn more about appliance removal and other household item removal give us a call today: 512-851-0443.

How to dispose of single-use batteries (trash or recycle)

When you want to be environmentally friendly, recycling is the go-to option. Recycling works even for single-use batteries as those products have materials that can be used again.

There are three ways to recycle single-use batteries. The first method is to take them to a local recycling facility that accepts these types of batteries. The second way is to mail them to different organizations that recycle them.

Finally, you can bring them into those stores or battery outlets with a take-back program that will be effective and easy to do. When it comes to the law, only the state of California makes it entirely illegal to toss single-use or any type of battery into the trash. All other states allow you to dispose of batteries in the trash.

However, in those non-California states, it’s a good idea to recycle those single-use batteries to make sure you do your part in protecting the environment. If you are not sure if you should recycle a particular type of single-use battery, check with your local waste disposal site or your local government office for the most updated regulations.

Something that adds a bit of confusion is the 1996 Mercury-Containing and Rechargeable Battery Management Act. That act banned mercury from being used in batteries, and there should not be any more batteries on the market that are made from that harmful element. If you find batteries made with mercury, the best way to dispose of them is to recycle them through the proper agencies.

How to dispose of rechargeable batteries (recycle only)

The first thing you need to do is remember not to throw them into your regular trash. There is a reason for this critical step. Rechargeable batteries do contain harmful elements called heavy metals, which cause damage to the environment.

The first step in disposing of rechargeable batteries is to separate them from the toys, tools, and computers that no longer need them. All these items need to be recycled separately from batteries. Plus, it would be best if you covered the terminals on the ends of each battery so they cannot discharge any materials.

Once you have completed these steps, you have several options you can choose from to rid your home of unwanted batteries:

Take them to a home improvement store

Most of these stores have free drop-off boxes where you can quickly drop off your used batteries. They’re often at the entrance or exit doors and should have simple instructions, such as either dropping the batteries into the receptacle directly or putting them in a provided envelope.

Call a recycling center

Call2Recycle claims to have 25,000 drop-off boxes around the country and within 10 miles of 85% of the nation’s population. Call them to find one near you. 

Call your local waste management company

They should have a battery recycling program in operation, but if they do not, they will likely know where you can take your old batteries and recycle them. If their program is a scheduled event, find out when the next collection will take place. Then make a note of it on your calendar. 

Use the mail

Some battery manufacturers have their own battery recycling program. You can find out which ones that do and mail your dead batteries to them. Due to the shipping costs, this is likely the most expensive way to recycle old batteries. However, if you have many of them, the expense may be worth it.

How to prepare batteries for recycling

There are a few steps to this task, and it is essential to follow all the steps to ensure safe recycling.

1. Identify your batteries

This is essential as different batteries have different rules and regulations for recycling or disposing of old units. If you mistake and misidentify a battery, then place it in the wrong category, the organization you send them to can face legal issues.

2. Use the right packaging

After separating your different batteries, you need to package them correctly. If they are not packaged correctly, they could become damaged and leak. The worst-case scenario is that they could start a fire.

If you do not follow the regulations correctly, you could be facing fines or other penalties. For alkaline batteries, simply cover the terminals with protective tape to prevent short-circuiting. Then place them in secure containers to keep them from being damaged.

Because lithium and lead-acid batteries and their materials are considered hazardous waste, special packaging, labels, and documentation are needed. However, the regulations do change often, and you should contact the appropriate agency for updated rules.

If you doubt how to package your batteries, check with local experts for help and guidance. Bigger batteries will need pallets and poly banding to hold them in place and keep them safe.

Batteries are a necessity of life. Just think about what you could not do if you did not have any batteries to use to power your products. That thought alone should motivate you to recycle your old batteries. Also, not recycling old batteries is one way to damage the environment.

Recycling is also a safe way to handle those batteries you won’t be using again. Drop-off centers will be the easiest method to use and the cheapest. Check them out, even if they’re not in your town, as they can be the option with the least risk and cost to you and the environment.