Used Household Batteries

Certain batteries should NOT go in household garbage or recycling bins. This page can inform you on how to manage these batteries safely. Waste batteries can always be recycled or taken to household hazardous waste collection points.

To prevent fires from lithium-ion batteries, tape battery terminals and/or place batteries in separate plastic bags and never put these batteries in household garbage or recycling bins.

Every year in the United States, millions of single-use and rechargeable batteries are bought, used and recycled, or disposed of in the trash. Batteries come in various chemistries, types, and sizes to fit their use.

  • Single-use batteries can generally be removed from the device when they stop powering the device.
  • Rechargeable batteries may be removable or permanently attached to the device.

The increased demand for batteries can be traced largely to the rapid increase in the use of small portable electronics, power tools, and other everyday items, as well as the increase in “smart” products, such as small and large appliances and automobiles.

Batteries are manufactured using different mixtures of chemical elements designed to meet customers’ power and performance needs. Batteries can contain metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium, nickel, and silver, which can pose a threat to human health or the environment when improperly managed at the end of their service life. Battery types are identified by marking and labeling, not by the battery’s shape or the color of the label.

Some batteries may also contain materials such as cobalt, lithium, and graphite that are considered critical minerals by the United States Geological Survey. Critical minerals are raw materials that are economically and strategically important to the United States and have a high supply risk potential and for which there are no easy substitutes. Consequently, every effort should be made to recycle and recover these materials to ensure they will be available for generations to come.

Once a battery is no longer useful, the type and chemistry of the battery determine which of the various waste management options to use. It is important to manage batteries correctly according to their type because some batteries can cause a risk to safety and health if mismanaged at the end of their lives. Batteries can have enough energy to injure or start fires even when used and when they appear to be discharged. For safety, remember that not all batteries are removable or serviceable by the user—heed battery and product markings regarding safety and use for all types of batteries.

Call AET if you need any help or direction with your waste. aetenvironmental.com

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