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Batteries gain their power from heavy metals reacting to chemical electrolytes.  Because of the heavy metals used in batteries, they pose a certain pollutant threat to the environment.  Recycling batteries reduces this threat and possible waste of metal and plastic materials.


Lead Acid Batteries (Automotive):  Due to effective legislation, approximately 96 percent of all lead acid batteries are being recycled.  Most retailers will collect used lead acid batteries back for recycling. These types of batteries are crushed at processing sites and separated into plastic and metal components. Each component is then sent to a second processing site to be manufactured into a new product.  New lead acid batteries are mostly composed of recycled lead and plastic.

Lead Acid Batteries (Non-automotive):  Industrial equipment, emergency lighting, and alarm systems commonly use lead acid batteries.  Auto stores and local waste processors will accept these batteries for recycling.

Alkaline and Zinc-Carbon Batteries:  These are the most commonly used, household batteries found in small electronic devices.  Because of legislation prohibiting the use of mercury within alkaline batteries, these types can be disposed of in household trash.  However, in order to reduce waste, consider alternatives to alkaline batteries, like rechargeable batteries or adapters.

Button Cell Batteries:  Commonly composed of mercury, silver, lithium, cadmium or other metals, button cell batteries are used in smaller devices like watches, calculators, and hearing aids.  Button cell batteries are recyclable and can be dropped off at jewelry stores, repair shops, and camera stores.

Rechargeable Batteries:  Depending on the contents of the battery, these can be recharged 25 to 1,000 times before they lose their effectiveness.  Rechargeable batteries can contain mercury, cadmium, and lead, which can be potentially dangerous.  Disposing of rechargeable batteries is illegal in some areas, so be sure and drop them at a hazardous household waste or recycling location.


Before purchasing traditional alkaline batteries, which create waste, consider the following alternatives:

Purchase a quality, efficient rechargeable battery for extended use and recyclability.  Many local cities or counties offer drop-off sites or terminals for recycling.

Consider eliminating the need for any type of battery.  When purchasing an equipment requiring batteries, look or ask for a product that uses an AC adapter.

Some household items, like calculators, lanterns, and flashlights, are solar or manually powered.  Some lanterns are powered by turning a small crank, and other items contain small solar panels as a power source.

Allow rechargeable batteries to almost fully discharge and cool before recharging

Follow the manufacturers instructions in order to get the most life out of rechargeable batteries.

Circulate the use of batteries, which can loose charge if stored for too long.


When the standby time of your rechargeable battery is minimal after a full charge, it may be time to recycle.

Place electrical tape around rechargeable batteries before dropping them into recycling bins.  This prevents contact between terminals and other surfaces.

Avoid placing damaged rechargeable batteries into recycling bins.  Seal damaged batteries, and take them to a local household hazardous waste location.


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