How to Dispose of or Recycle Batteries Properly

Batteries are one of the few items where many people are unsure of how to dispose. The single use batteries are made of hazardous materials that can cause fires or explosions when compacted in trash and/or recycle trucks. If those batteries make it through the compacting truck, they are again at risk of breaking at the Transfer Stations or Recycling Material Processing plants where your single sort recycling is handled. In this blog post, we will explain how to dispose of common household batteries as well as single use batteries. With proper care and attention you can be confident when you have a need to dispose of them.

 

Why You Should Dispose of Batteries

Batteries contain materials that can potentially be hazardous. These materials include mercury, alkaline, acid, lead, and more. It is very important that you throw your old and dead batteries away, as they can become dangerous to store. If you do have to store them while you wait to dispose of them properly, make sure you do so in a cool place with no access to water. Storing your old batteries in their original packaging from the store is a great way to keep them organized and stored safely.

 

How to Dispose of Batteries

In Minnesota, only alkaline batteries made before 1993 need to be disposed of at a household hazardous waste (HHW) collection site. Other than that, Carbon Zinc, or alkaline batteries are safe to place in the trash cart. 

 

Recycling Batteries

In Minnesota, there are options to recycle your old household batteries in designated drop off zones. You will usually see a battery drop off box in your local grocery store or convenience store. These boxes are taken to a battery recycling plant and the batteries are used to create new ones. Typically, these boxes are strictly for alkaline batteries, which are AAA, AA, and others up to 9 volt. These batteries are safe to be disposed of in the trash, but should not go into your recycling bin. For car batteries, many car repair shops will take them to be recycled.

Perhaps the most important type of battery to recycle are reusable batteries. The materials used in these batteries are hazardous and can cause great danger when thrown into a landfill. These batteries must be taken to a hazardous waste collection site to be taken care of and recycled carefully. If you are unsure of a hazardous waste collection site near you, many retailers will take them off your hands.

When Disposing of Batteries

No matter how you dispose of your old batteries, the most important thing is that you tape them. The terminals, or the round ends of the batteries, may have some charge in them despite seeming completely dead. If a battery still has some charge and comes in contact with another battery, it can potentially cause a fire. This is why you should not dispose of batteries without taping them first. In addition to taping the batteries, you should also never dispose of different batteries together. If the chemicals inside of them leak and mix together, it can be very hazardous.

If you have any questions about how to dispose of a specific type of battery, please feel free to contact us. We would be more than happy to help you know where to dispose of your batteries safely and sustainably.

Sources:

https://earth911.com/recycling-guide/how-to-recycle-single-use-batteries/

https://www.wikihow.life/Dispose-of-Batteries

https://www.thoughtco.com/should-batteries-be-tossed-or-recycled-1204140

https://recycleminnesota.org/resources/recycling/

 

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