Batteries That Can Be Discarded
Batteries are just about everywhere in our everyday lives, powering the portable devices we often take for granted, such as cellphones and the TV remote. Although we may not think about it, the batteries we discard usually end up in landfills, leaking hazardous waste into the environment. But with a little smart shopping and local research, you can make sure the batteries you use each day find the right final resting place, whether it's the household trash or your local recycling center.
You can dispose of alkaline batteries safely in the everyday household trash. Although mercury was once widely used in the production of alkaline batteries, battery makers in the United States no longer include mercury in alkaline batteries. This takes away concerns about alkaline batteries leaking hazardous materials into the environment. Alkaline batteries are typically not rechargeable and are one of the most common battery choices for powering everyday items such as remotes, toys and portable video games.
Typically, the types of batteries that require recycling are rechargeable, zinc air, lithium ion, or lithium, due to chemicals inside the batteries that can leak and present problems in the environment. Each state has its own regulations for the proper disposal and recycling of different types of batteries. For more information, call your state's environmental conservation department. Locate a nearby battery recycling center where you can drop off batteries you can't throw away at home.
Battery Recycling Centers
If you're not sure whether or not you can throw your batteries into the regular household trash, ask the store where you purchased the batteries. Stores like Sears, Target, Lowes and others can not only help you identify the type of battery -- they may also run battery recycling programs that allow you to drop off drained batteries for proper disposal. If you're not sure where to find a battery recycling center in your area, go to the Call2Recycle website and use the battery recycling center locator by zip code.
Never dispose of batteries -- even alkaline batteries -- in fire. The batteries can explode and cause major safety hazards. Also, avoid disposing of alkaline batteries in large groups. Very often, discarded batteries are not completely drained, and when grouped together these batteries can pose safety problems. Always be aware of where your discarded batteries are stored before hauling them away. Never keep batteries -- even "dead" batteries -- sitting in extreme heat.