How to Dispose of Old Batteries the Right Way

Old Batteries

To take care of our planet, we need to dispose of hazardous materials properly as part of the ecosystem. It’s important to remember not to throw batteries in regular trash bins.

Household batteries come in different sizes, but they all do the same thing: they give power to devices.

When a battery is drained, it should be disposed of properly. Not all batteries can be recycled, and mishandling them can lead to serious injury.

How to Dispose of Used Batteries

1. Battery Recycling Programs

If you have a lot of batteries to dispose of, check if your state or city has a battery recycling program. It’s an excellent option to consider.

Recycling centers are often free or have low rates for battery disposal.

There are websites like Call2Recycle and Earth911 where you can find recycling centers. Check out the Battery Recycling Center.

2. Take Them to a Drop-Off Location

If there is no battery recycling program nearby, you can go to a retailer that takes old batteries for disposal. If your area doesn’t have a battery recycling program, you can go to certain retailers for disposal.

Some stores provide free disposal, while others charge $1-$5 per battery, depending on how many you bring in. Call ahead to determine if the retailer accepts all or just certain types of batteries.

The Home Depot has partnered with Call2Recycle to provide battery recycling at all its stores nationwide. They will accept alkaline batteries, lithium-ion, and button cell batteries for free. You can drop off batteries anytime. When you check out, you can ask a store associate for a battery recycling bin near the exit.

3. 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 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.

4. Take Your Batteries to the Hazardous Waste Facility

This is usually located at a city’s public works or sanitation department. If you contact them in advance, you can inquire about the types of batteries they accept. Generally, they will accept most, if not all, types of batteries.

When you arrive at the facility, unpack your batteries and sort them into piles based on their type and size.

After separating the batteries into piles, you should bring them to a machine that will crush them into small pieces.

Then, put the crushed pieces into bags for transportation back to an industrial site for proper disposal by incineration.

Different Types of Batteries and Where to Dispose Them Safely

Nickel-cadmium Batteries

Nickel-cadmium batteries are used in many cordless power tools. They are also used in laptop computers, cameras, and cell phones. Ni-Cd batteries have harmful metals like cadmium. These metals can be released into the environment if not disposed of correctly.

Don’t put them in the trash. The EPA has a database of companies that handle hazardous wastes, and you can search it.

Nickel Metal Hydride Batteries

Nickel metal hydride batteries are relatively new on the scene. Nickel metal hydride batteries are used in laptops, portable electronics, hybrid vehicles, and electric vehicles. If you want to dispose of a nickel metal hydride battery at an authorized disposal facility.

These facilities usually charge a fee for dropping off your dead battery. However, they also accept lead-acid batteries. That’s why visiting them is a good idea if you want to avoid going to the landfill with your old car battery.

Lead-acid Batteries

Cars and trucks use lead-acid batteries to power their electrical systems while they are in use. Lead acid batteries consist of lead plates in a sulfuric acid and water mixture. The alternator charges the battery while driving, so you can start your car again when you turn the key.

Lead acid batteries come in two types: starting and deep cycle batteries. Starting batteries have more energy than deep-cycle batteries, but only for a brief time, up to around 10 seconds.

Deep cycle batteries have less energy than starting batteries but can last longer, usually about 30 minutes. These larger deep-cycle batteries are commonly used to power boats and RVs.

Lithium-ion Batteries

Lithium-ion batteries are rechargeable. They use lithium ions to produce power. They’re found in everything from laptops to smartphones and used in electric cars like the Tesla Model S.

Lithium-ion batteries are getting more popular because they store more energy than other batteries, which makes them lighter and more powerful. However, there are risks associated with these advantages.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports approximately 10 million incidents yearly involving damaged or recalled lithium-ion batteries in devices such as cellphones, laptops, and hoverboards.

The most common type of lithium-ion battery is called an 18650 cell. It gets this name because it has a diameter of 18 millimeters and is 65 millimeters long. It’s slightly smaller than an AA battery.

These cells are used in laptops and 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

Aluminum-air batteries show great promise as an area of research for future energy storage. The technology has been around for a long time. It is already being used in products such as hearing aids and pacemakers.

Those batteries cost around $100 per kilowatt-hour and harm the environment. The batteries use aluminum anodes or electrodes mixed with a metal oxide like lithium or vanadium. When the battery discharges, it uses up oxygen and releases water vapor when it recharges.

They are perfect for storing energy in the power grid because they can be charged or discharged without needing any special equipment. This is especially useful for situations like solar power, where you might not know when the battery will be charged or discharged.

Aluminum is one of the most abundant elements in the Earth’s crust (it makes up 8% by weight). Mining aluminum is highly polluting due to the need for large amounts of electricity to separate it from metals like copper and iron.

Alkaline Batteries

You can dispose of alkaline batteries by putting them in a sealed plastic bag and placing it in your recycling bin. You can also bring them to a store, and they will recycle or dispose of them for you.

Carbon-zinc Batteries

Carbon-zinc batteries are often found in flashlights, smoke detectors, and other important devices. Carbon-zinc batteries are a good option if you need a battery for a short time or require a lot of power.

These batteries are safe for the environment and people. You can put them in the recycling bin without worry because they don’t have harmful metals like cadmium.

Why Do Batteries Need Special Management?

Batteries are composed of various parts. When these parts come together, they form a chemical reaction that generates energy for the battery to function.

These reactions create hazardous byproducts like hydrogen gas and chlorine gas, which can become highly unstable in specific situations.

Sparks can ignite the hydrogen gas produced in the chemical reaction if the battery has a short circuit or gets overcharged. An explosion can happen and cause significant harm to people and property nearby.

ImproveShow HardIt’s important to take a small detour to protect the environment. Don’t throw batteries in the garbage, which can harm the ecosystem.

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