How To Dispose Of Batteries

There are so many tools and wireless pieces of equipment that we rely on which use batteries, which means that every home will have a supply of batteries on the go at all times. However, when the batteries die, do you know what to do with them?

You must know how to properly dispose of and recycle batteries because we use them so much, and this can impact the environment as well as the way our home runs.

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As we have a lot of different devices, there are also a lot of different batteries to go with them, and each type needs to be handled in its own way. For example, batteries from your laptop cannot be recycled the same way the batteries in your remote control can because they are different types.

In this guide, we are going to tell you everything you need to know about the safe way to dispose of batteries and whether you can recycle what you have been using.

How To Dispose Of Single-Use Batteries

Single-use batteries are the most common kind of battery used in households across the US. These batteries include the common types, such as AA, AAA, 9V, and D-cell sizes which can be used for a range of tools and devices.

These are the kinds of batteries that you will use in your remotes, toys, flashlights, and other small electronics. As the name suggests, they can only be used one time until they run out of power. Essentially, if a battery is not rechargeable, then it falls into this category.

  • Can I Throw Single-Use Batteries Into The Trash?

In the US, single-use batteries can be thrown into the household trash with the rest of the waste unless you are in California. In California, it is illegal to throw away all types of batteries, and there are alternatives for those in this state.

Before 1996, household batteries were considered to be hazardous waste as they contained mercury, but this is no longer the case. Now batteries are made using common metals which are deemed to be non-hazardous by the federal government, which is why they can be thrown in the trash in most states.

There is an exception to this rule, however, which is button cell batteries. These are used in watches and are still considered to be hazardous, which is why they need to be disposed of in the same way as rechargeable batteries.

  • Can Single-Use Batteries Be Recycled?

Single-use batteries can be recycled, but there is usually a fee involved with this. 

To recycle single-use batteries, you will need to get in touch with your local solid waste district to find out how things work in your community. There may be a collection day or upcoming event where you can recycle batteries.

Single-use batteries can also be disposed of in recycling centers if they accept them.

If none of these solutions work for you, then there are also mail-in recycling services for batteries. This mail-in recycling service will be sent out in a container for you to use for the batteries, and then you can send this back to them for the batteries to be disposed of properly. 

Instead of worrying about how to dispose of single-use batteries, you could instead invest in rechargeable batteries. 

These can be used in a range of devices time and time again without an additional charge to you and will protect the environment as they do not need to be thrown away.

How To Prepare Household Batteries For Recycling

Some preparation needs to be done before you can recycle your batteries. Once you have decided which is the right disposal method for you, it is time to prepare the batteries.

  • Cover both ends of the battery using non-conductive tape, like duct tape or electrical tape, to prevent current transfer. You can also do this by bagging each battery individually.
  • Store batteries inside a plastic or cardboard container as these materials do not conduct electricity. This will prevent further issues if there is a spark.
  • If you are mailing your batteries to a recycling center, make sure to abide by the rules given to you and follow all the safety steps before shipping.

How To Dispose Of Rechargeable Batteries

Rechargeable batteries are a great alternative to single-use batteries because they can save you money and do not need to be disposed of as quickly.

These batteries can be used all around the home, and there are several different types available, including nickel-metal hydride, nickel-cadmium, lithium-ion, and small sealed lead-acid batteries.

  • Can I Throw Rechargeable Batteries In The Trash?

Rechargeable batteries cannot be thrown into the trash or in a dumpster. This is because they contain heavy metals which are considered to be hazardous to the environment, meaning they need to be disposed of separately. 

In some states, it is illegal to throw rechargeable batteries in the trash because of this.

  • Can Rechargeable Batteries Be Recycled?

Rechargeable batteries can and should be recycled when they eventually come to the end of their life. 

As this is how they should be disposed of, there will usually be no cost associated with recycling rechargeable batteries, and the process will be easier than when dealing with single-use batteries.

Home improvement and office supply stores will have a space for you to recycle rechargeable batteries. There are also mail-order recycling programs for rechargeable batteries based on your location.

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