How To Properly Dispose Of Batteries

Batteries are mandatory to power many electronics, power tools, and toys. As the demand grows, battery disposal must be front and center. Unfortunately, battery disposal is not as simple as tossing it in the trash. Batteries divide into alkaline batteries, rechargeable batteries, and car batteries, and all require care and attention to ensure no harm to you or the landfill comes from improper disposal. What complicates things further is the three categories offer different solutions for disposal.

Alkaline Batteries

AA, AAA, and D batteries found in stores are examples of alkaline batteries. U.S. manufactured alkaline removed mercury while keeping it functional, replacing the dangerous material with safer metals like zinc, steel and manganese. Therefore, all alkaline batteries are safe to toss in the trash with traditional household waste in every state but California. California allows the alternative method for alkaline battery disposal, which is taking it to a nearby battery recycling center or community/organization center. All other states welcome the battery disposal methods too.

One trick to dispose of alkaline batteries safely is placing one or two batteries per trash cycle. A large pile of batteries in the trash might come in contact and create a charge, and since dead batteries still charge, this is a safety risk. A second trick is to place tape above the terminal ends of the battery. This is the end where there’s a bump at the top, alternatively called an anode, positive battery terminal, or positive post. Place tape on the negative battery terminal, or the cathode, too. Ensure each disposed battery has tape before tossing. A third trick is to place batteries in a plastic zip bag before tossing the bag in the trash. Never toss batteries in a fire because the battery exposure to the flame can create an explosion.

Rechargeable Batteries

Laptop computer, cell phone, camera, handheld vacuum, and power tool batteries require an AC adapter to charge a battery to full power. It lasts several hours to complete several tasks before a recharge is necessary. Eventually, the charge wears out and the battery dies. Rechargeable battery disposal is necessary for these batteries as these batteries contain metals like lithium ion, lead-acid and nickel that aren’t safe for trashcans. Dispose of the batteries at a rechargeable recycling center near you. An alternate choice is taking the battery to the nearest Best Buy, Staples, Lowe’s, Home Depot or an online battery retailer. Those companies know how to dispose of batteries safely. City and neighborhood events or programs may exist for rechargeable battery disposal.

Rechargeable batteries can go in the trash safely but proceed with caution as these batteries still contain a charge even if the battery appears dead. Place batteries in a plastic zip bag before tossing it in the trash. Some batteries with two charged ends are safe to toss in the trash as long as tape covers both ends. Never burn batteries as the charge inside it could explode.

Automotive Batteries

A rechargeable battery, the car battery deserves separate instructions for disposal, as most are lead-acid based. Take the battery to a waste management center or return it to the point of origin. They can dispose of batteries properly. Alternatively, auto service centers and retailers will recycle the battery safely, so take it there. Never toss auto batteries in the trash or burn batteries in a fire.

Americans recycle 3 billion batteries every year according to the EPA. Increased dependence on battery-charged products contributes to the need for battery purchase. Sadly, when batteries end up in landfills, the acid could infect the air, harm lakes and streams, and burn eyes and skin. Since all batteries corrode and leak, it’s important to dispose of batteries safely. These tips successfully dive into separate solutions to resolve each common battery type. Keep this information handy.

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