We all know one of the best gifts to receive during the holidays is the hot new tech gadget. Whether it's a cellphone, laptop, tablet or remote control car, these and many other devices hold batteries that could contain dangerous and flammable chemicals.
Did you know...improper disposal of batteries is one of the leading causes of truck fires in the waste collection industry? The danger escalates when these volatile batteries join the hundreds of thousands of others like them at the landfill.
As a way to keep our roads, our trucks, our crews, and our landfills free from danger, we have provided you with a best practices list for battery disposal.
Battery Disposal Methods
The multi-use batteries contained in cellphones, laptops, computers, and other tech gadgets, should NEVER be included in your trash OR your single stream recycling bin because they contain dangerous and unstable chemicals that can combust when collected by our crews.
Fortunately, they can be recycled by bringing them to a rechargeable battery drop off location, for example, your local electronics store or a battery recycling-specific storefront.
Call2Recycle has about 34,000 locations nationwide where consumers can drop off their rechargeable batteries to be recycled. The company also supplies commercial spaces with collection boxes (see image below) to collect higher volumes of rechargeable batteries over time.
For more information on the Call2Recycle collection boxes and/or to find a rechargeable battery drop off location near you, visit http://www.call2recycle.org/locator/.
Disposal Method: RECYCLE! (At specified drop off locations)
Alkaline batteries vary in size, voltage and shape but you will likely recognize them as the same ones you use in household items like flashlights and toys. They are also known as single use or general purpose batteries.
In 1993, alkaline battery manufacturers stopped the production of batteries containing mercury. Because of this, it is now considered acceptable to dispose of your batteries within the household trash container.
Although they no longer contain mercury, it is still recommended that you take precautions with alkaline batteries. We recommend avoiding collecting large numbers of alkaline batteries in the same bag for disposal.
Oftentimes, even when a battery seems dead there is still power remaining. Grouping used batteries together can bring them into contact with each other, causing safety risks.
And what about recycling alkaline batteries?
Though this is an option in some areas, the ease at which it is made to dispose of alkaline batteries with regular household trash has limited the infrastructure for alkaline battery recycling. If you know of an alkaline battery recycler in your area, verify that not only are they collecting your batteries but also are recycling them properly. (In our own undercover research, we have found that despite their claims to recycle, many alkaline battery collection points will simply discard alkaline batteries in the trash)
It is important to note, alkaline batteries cannot be recycled with your single stream recycling, so make sure to keep them out of your recycling bin!
Also, NEVER dispose of alkaline batteries in fire (and always keep them away from heat and flame) as they will explode!
Disposal Method: TRASH IS OKAY!
Car batteries are one of the most recycled products in the nation, with a 98-99% recycling rate. But, like rechargeable batteries, they require their own form of recycling and cannot be included in your single stream recycling at home.
Most times, old car batteries can be returned to the dealership or store where they were purchased. Many automotive and home improvement stores also have convenient drop off locations.
Wherever you choose to recycle these batteries, remember: NEVER include them in your trash or single stream recycling in order to prevent fires and hazardous chemical reactions!
Disposal Method: RECYCLE! (At specified drop off locations)
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