How and Where to Recycle Batteries

Battery Recycling Location

Where you can recycle batteries will vary depending on your location and state and local laws for disposal of batteries. Single-use batteries are more difficult to recycle than rechargeable batteries that contain valuable heavy metals that can be reused.

Do Not Throw Batteries In The Trashcan – Use A Local Battery Recycle Facility

Batteries are a huge part of our society. You can find them in phones, hand-held video games, cameras, razors, iPads, etc. They have also become a large issue for the environment by their ending up in landfills, and polluting the ground with their toxic chemicals. Batteries are considered toxic waste, and contain heavy metals like mercury, zinc, silver, nickel, lithium, cadmium, and lead. When storing them, make sure they are sorted in a safe, dry place, and certainly out of the reach of children. Plastic containers with lids or zip lock bags are great for storing them until you drop off at a battery recycling center near you.

Where Can Alkaline Batteries Be Recycled?

Primary, or disposable batteries are those that cannot be recharged. These are the ones that people use in their kids’ gadgets, like AA’s or AAA’s. They run out of juice rather quickly, and many of them end up in landfills, so it is highly suggested to keep them safely stored until you can take them to a battery recycling place near you. Secondary, or rechargeable batteries, like the ones in cell phones can be recharged by simply plugging them into a power source. The same process can be done with car batteries. When any of these are attached to a power source, the flow of electrons changes directions, and return the electrodes back to their original states. Examples of these are lead-acid batteries that are used in vehicles, or lithium-ion batteries commonly used in smartphones or laptops.

Locate A Battery Disposal Location Near Me

As stated previously, due to their toxic chemical make up, all batteries should be recycled if at all possible.

For small primary batteries, simply locate a local battery recycling center near you. For rechargeable batteries, like the ones used cell phones, remote controls, and cameras, most retailers that sell them are required to accept and recycle them. As for batteries that are used for cars or golf carts, they are simply banned from landfills. Again, most retailers that sell them will take them. You can basically trade them in and get a reduced price on your new battery. If you are storing these larger batteries, placing tape over their terminals is a smart thing to do for added safety. Always place leaking batteries away from other ones, in plastic or zip lock bags. Remember to use nitrile gloves whenever you are handling old batteries, and of course, wash your hands afterwards. Let’s help keep our environment free of these hazardous materials.

Types of Batteries

  • Alkaline Batteries – Also known as single-use batteries. Your typical AA, AAA, C, D, and 9V batteries that are used in things like remote controls, toys, and smoke detectors.
  • Lithium Batteries – Another type of single-use battery. Does not contain heavy metals so may be difficult to recycle unless you pay a fee.
  • Lithium-ionRechargeable batteries that are used in everything from electric vehicles to portable electronic devices. Contains heavy metals and should be recycled.
  • Button cell – Used in hearing aids, watches and other small devices. You may need to contact the manufacturer to find out if they will accept the old batteries.
  • Nickel-zinc – Rechargeable battery that is used in electric cars, portable electronics, tools, and more. Always recycle these batteries.

How Do Batteries Work?

Batteries consist of three parts: electrodes, an electrolyte, and a separator. The cathode (positive electrode) and the anode (negative electrode) of a common battery are hooked up to an electrical circuit. Between them is where the electrolyte is placed. It’s normally a gel or liquid that contains ions, or electrically charged particles. When combined, these materials produce chemical reactions, which allow the battery to generate an electric current. The separator’s job is to keep the cathode and anode from touching each other. If not, a short circuit would be created, and would prevent the battery from functioning. These chemical reactions, also called oxidation-reduction reactions allow the flow of ions between the cathode and anode.