How To Properly Dispose of Batteries

How To Properly Dispose of Batteries
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HOW DO I DISPOSE OF BATTERIES? (and why it's SO important!)

Every year fires caused by improper battery disposal cost waste, recycling, and scrap operators over 1.2 billion dollars?!
Properly disposing of your batteries saves money and lives, by lessening the chance of a fire breaking out at a facility. Here are the details:

- Lithium-ion batteries found in phones, laptops, cameras, power tools, and tablets are the biggest culprits.

The Lithium-ion and lithium polymer batteries in these items are often encased in a soft pouch that, when punctured, allows air to reach the battery – causing a chemical reaction that leads to sparks, fire and sometimes explosions. The fire produces toxic smoke.

When batteries are improperly thrown away, they end up in our waste transfer stations and landfill. As waste is compacted and moved with heavy equipment, the pouch encasing the batteries can be punctured and start a fire.

First, figure out what type of battery you have! Is it rechargeable? Car battery? Single use? Or a lithium battery?


- RECHARGEABLE BATTERIES: These can be recycled once they have reached the end of their life and no longer hold much of a charge. Many big box stores like Home Depot, Lowes, or Staples will take these rechargeable batteries back. Find a location near you:

- CAR (or boat) BATTERY: These can also be recycled - you can often take them back to your car dealership or mechanic. You can also find a take-back location near you:

- SINGLE USE BATTERY: NOT recyclable. You can toss these batteries in the trash. To be extra careful, wrap a piece of tape around the battery to cover both poles.

- LITHIUM BATTERY: HAZARDOUS - DO NOT PLACE IN TRASH!! These batteries must be handled carefully. Contact your transfer station, recycling program or to find a drop-off location near you. DO NOT just toss these in the trash - one battery can make a difference in the WORST way.

LEARN MORE about Battery Disposal and Download a FREE Battery Recycling Poster:

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This material is based upon work supported under a grant by the Rural Utilities Service, United States Department of Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Rural Utilities Service. Rural Community Assistance Partnership, Inc., is an equal opportunity provider and employer.