Chances are that you use at least one or more battery-operated devices in your household, but those batteries won’t last forever and will need to be thrown out eventually. Batteries contain many substances that are not environmentally friendly and are even potentially dangerous if they are disposed of in the regular trash. In some areas, disposing of batteries in the regular trash is illegal and you must have them recycled.
Here is more information about different types of batteries you will find in your home and garage, why you should recycle them, and how to safely store them until you are able to send them to a battery recycling center.
Types of Commonly Used Batteries
Consumer batteries are divided into two categories — automotive and non-automotive (household) — and both types are recyclable.
Wet cell automotive batteries are lead-acid based and can cause severe environmental and health problems if they are mishandled. Fortunately, they are easy to recycle for both their plastic parts as well as the lead interior. Similar lead-based batteries are used in small engine equipment, security equipment, and industrial applications and are recycled in the same way.
Non-automotive, dry cell household batteries are much more diverse in the types of materials used in their construction. Here are some examples of these types of batteries, all of which are recyclable.
- Alkaline batteries, such as your typical AA, AAA, C, and D batteries are commonly used in toys, radios, and some small appliances.
- Lithium and lithium-ion batteries are common in cameras, laptops, watches, and other household electronics.
- Nickel-cadmium batteries are rechargeable and available as replacements for alkaline batteries, or used in rechargeable devices such as cell phones, hand-held vacuums, and similar products.
- Zinc and silver batteries are most commonly used in hearing aids.
- Mercury batteries are less common, but are still used in some cameras, pacemakers, and watches.
Reasons for Recycling Batteries
The main reason for recycling batteries is to keep their materials out of the landfill and potentially poisoning groundwater and the soil. In addition, most of the material can be re-purposed and put to new use. Another big reason for proper recycling is that these batteries can potentially cause a fire or even an explosion through mishandling. If these batteries are incinerated with regular trash, they may release toxic materials into the air.
Ways to Store Your Spent Batteries
When you prepare your batteries for recycling, make sure you store them in a way that the ends don’t touch each other and cause a spark. The best way to store them is by laying them side by side in a non-conductive container. Do not pile them up in a bag as they can potentially make contact and cause a fire. Another tip is to keep the original battery packaging and use those to keep your spent batteries.
Things That Reduce the Need for Battery Disposal
If you are a heavy battery user, then you should use high-quality, rechargeable batteries as much as possible. While these types of batteries are more expensive, they will save you money in the long run. Rechargeable batteries can replace many non-rechargeable batteries over a long period of time. To extend the life of your rechargeable batteries, don’t let them overheat and charge them regularly.
Batteries are an important part of modern life and you probably would find them difficult to do without. Therefore, when the time comes for you to dispose of your batteries, make sure you send them to a recycling center instead of throwing them in the trash.
Cleanlites Recycling can recycle your batteries at either one of our five locations, or we can pick it up for you if you have a large order. We even have a convenient way to mail in small batches available. Download a brochure or contact one of our locations for more information about how we can help you with your battery recycling.