How to Safely Dispose of Batteries – Household and Automotive

What do you do with all of those old batteries you have lying around your house? Would it shock you to find out there’s acid in those batteries which can seriously damage the environment when they are simply tossed into the garbage and carried off to landfills? It probably shouldn’t, especially if you’ve ever seen a corroded battery before. So picture that the next time you take your used batteries and go to toss them in the garbage can. Here’s how to safely dispose of batteries.

How to Safely Dispose of Alkaline Batteries

Alkaline batteries are the standard batteries you find in most things, like your A, C, D, AA, AAA, and 9V batteries. For the most part, these batteries can be tossed into your regular garbage as they are now being made to have fewer metals which cause concern. They no longer contain mercury, so they don’t pose a health or environmental risk when used properly and disposed of properly.

To do this, don’t just throw a whole bunch of alkaline batteries away at once. Used batteries often aren’t completely dead and therefore grouping batteries together can cause them to react off of one another which can be unsafe. And when you throw away 9V batteries, cover the charges with a piece of electrical tape as they are a fire hazard.

Some communities do have recycling or collection places for used alkaline batteries, but this isn’t very common. Contact your town or city to find out if they offer anything like that, but for the most part throwing your alkaline batteries into the garbage is currently the only way to dispose of them. One or two at once is fine, but if you have more, scatter them in different garbage receptacles to prevent the batteries from reacting to one another.

How to Dispose of Button Batteries

These batteries are most often found in hearing aids and watches. However, those popular musical greeting cards contain these batteries as well. You want to be very careful with these batteries around small children as they are often swallowed and can cause major life-long medical problems. So it’s that much more important that they are disposed of correctly and to keep children from getting their hands on them.

These little batteries pack quite the punch, containing many hazardous materials such as mercuric oxide, lithium, silver oxide or zinc-air. Because of this hazardous waste you can’t just toss these batteries into the regular garbage. They have to be brought to a household hazardous waste collection site for proper handling. Call up your local government to find out when they are doing a household hazardous waste collection.

How to Safely Dispose of Other Chemical Batteries

When it comes to rechargeable lithium batteries like those found in cameras and phones, these batteries have to be recycled. You will need to contact a recycling center about recycling your lithium batteries. Many cell phone companies offer to buy your old used cell phones, battery and all. So when you upgrade your phone, take advantage of the opportunity to turn in your old phones.

How to Dispose of Your Car Battery

When you buy a new car battery you cannot just throw the old one away. When you purchase your new battery from an auto parts store, many times they will charge you a core fee on the battery. This amount is returned to you when you bring back the old battery so they can recycle it for you. Car batteries must be returned to waste-management centers only.

If you can, wherever possible dispose of your batteries at a household hazardous waste collection site or other recycling center that accepts batteries. This is best for the environment. But if one is not close by, then your normal everyday household batteries can be carefully disposed of in the trash. Car batteries must always be disposed of at a waste-management center, though. So do be careful when you’re throwing your batteries away.

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