Human beings are part of an ecosystem and to be a good steward of our planet, we strive to dispose of our hazardous material properly. It’s important to remember not to throw batteries in regular trash bins.
Household batteries come in a range of sizes, but they all have the same basic function; they provide power to the devices that use them.
When a battery is drained, it should be disposed of properly. It’s important to note that not all batteries are recyclable and some can cause serious injury if not handled properly.
Ways to Dispose of Used Batteries:
Battery Recycling Programs
Many states and cities have battery recycling programs available, so if you have many batteries to get rid of, look into this option first. Recycling centers are often free or have low rates for battery disposal. You can also find recycling centers on websites like Call2Recycle or Earth911. Check out the Battery Recycling Center.
Take Them to a Drop-Off Location
If there is no battery recycling program in your area, visit one of the many retailers that accept old batteries for disposal. Some stores offer free disposal service while others charge a fee ranging from $1-$5 per battery depending on how many you bring in at once. Call ahead to find out if the retailer accepts all types of batteries or just certain types.
The Home Depot has partnered with Call2Recycle to offer battery recycling services at all of its stores nationwide. They will accept alkaline batteries, lithium-ion, and button cell batteries for free. You can drop them off at any time, or ask an associate for a battery recycling bin near the store exit when you check out.
Lead-acid Batteries Can be Disposed of at an Auto Repair Shop
Lead-acid batteries can be recycled for a nominal fee at most auto repair shops. The owner of the battery should have the old battery tested to determine if it is still usable. If it is, the owner can have it recharged. If the battery is not usable, it will be recycled.
Take Your Batteries to the Hazardous Waste Facility
This is usually located at a city’s public works or sanitation department. You can call ahead and ask what type of batteries they accept, but they will most likely accept all types of batteries.
When you arrive at the facility, you will need to unpack your batteries and separate them into piles based on their type and size. Then, take the piles to a machine that will crush them into small pieces before placing them in bags for transport back to an industrial site where they can be properly disposed of by incineration.
Different Types of Batteries and Where to Dispose Them Safely
Nickel-cadmium batteries are used in many cordless power tools. They are also used in some laptop computers, cameras, and cell phones. Ni-Cd batteries contain toxic heavy metals like cadmium, which can be released into the environment if not disposed of properly.
Don’t put them in the trash. They should be recycled through a battery recycling program or disposed of properly by taking them to a Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facility near you.
The EPA also has a searchable database of companies that handle hazardous wastes.
Nickel Metal Hydride Batteries
Nickel metal hydride batteries are relatively new on the scene. They’re used in laptops and other portable electronics, as well as in hybrid vehicles and some electric vehicles. If you want to dispose of a nickel metal hydride battery, do so at an authorized disposal facility.
These facilities often charge a fee for dropping off your dead battery, but they’ll also accept lead-acid batteries, which is why they’re worth checking out if you want to avoid a trip to the landfill with your old car battery.
Lead acid batteries are used in cars and trucks to power the vehicle’s electrical system while it is running. The lead acid battery is made up of lead plates immersed in an electrolyte solution (mixture of sulfuric acid and water). When driving, the alternator charges the battery back up with current so that it can start your car again when you turn on the ignition key.
There are two types of lead acid batteries; starting batteries and deep cycle batteries. Starting batteries carry more energy than deep-cycle batteries but only for a short period (up to about 10 seconds). Deep cycle batteries carry less energy than starting batteries but can last much longer (about 30 minutes). These larger deep-cycle batteries are commonly used to power boats and RVs.
In the simplest terms, lithium-ion batteries are rechargeable batteries that use lithium ions to generate power. They’re found in everything from laptops to smartphones, and they’re also used in electric cars like the Tesla Model S.
Lithium-ion batteries have become increasingly popular because they can store more energy than other types of batteries, making them lighter and more powerful. But these advantages come with some risks: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that every year there are about 10 million incidents involving damaged or recalled lithium-ion batteries in products like cellphones, laptops, and hoverboards.
The most common type of lithium-ion battery is called a 18650 cell — so named because its diameter is 18 millimeters and 65 millimeters long (it’s a bit smaller than a AA battery). These cells can be found in everything from laptop computers to electric vehicles like Teslas. They come in many shapes and sizes; some look like tubes, while others resemble cans or bricks.
Alkaline batteries are the most common battery used in household devices. They are also known as zinc-carbon, manganese dioxide, and silver oxide batteries. They are usually found in cameras, remote controls, flashlights, toys, and clocks.
Aluminum-air batteries are one of the most promising areas of research for future energy storage. The technology has been around for decades, and it’s already being used in products like hearing aids and pacemakers.
But those batteries are expensive (about $100 per kilowatt-hour), and they’re not good for the environment. They use anodes made from pure aluminum or aluminum electrodes mixed with a metal oxide (either lithium or vanadium). When the battery discharges, oxygen is consumed during electrolysis and released as water vapor during recharging.
They don’t require any special equipment for charging or discharging, which makes them ideal for grid storage applications where you don’t know when the battery will be charged or discharged (think solar power).
Aluminum is one of the most abundant elements in the Earth’s crust (it makes up 8% by weight), but mining it is very polluting because it requires huge amounts of electricity to separate it from other metals such as copper and iron.
Alkaline batteries can be disposed of by placing them in a sealed plastic bag and putting it in your recycling bin. You can also take them to an electronics store or hardware store and they will accept them for recycling or disposal.
Carbon-Zinc batteries are commonly used in utility flashlights, smoke detectors, and other basic devices. These batteries are a good choice if you plan to use the battery for a short period or if you need a large amount of power.
These types of batteries do not contain heavy metals like cadmium, so they can be disposed of safely in your recycling bin without causing any harm to the environment or anyone nearby who might come into contact with them during transportation or disposal.
Why Do Batteries Need Special Management?
Batteries are made up of several different components which, when combined, create a chemical reaction that provides energy for the battery to work. Unfortunately, these reactions produce dangerous byproducts such as hydrogen gas and chlorine gas that can be extremely volatile under certain conditions.
If there is an electrical short circuit within the battery or if it is overcharged, it could cause sparks that ignite the hydrogen gas produced during this chemical reaction. This will lead to an explosion which can cause serious damage to both people and property nearby.
It’s worth it to go a little out of your way to make sure you don’t endanger the ecosystem by throwing batteries in the garbage.