Are Single-Use Batteries Recyclable?

Batteries are very useful items for most people. They give power to different devices and gadgets. There are many different types of batteries available in the market. Some are rechargeable, while some can only be used once. Despite the ubiquity of batteries, it is still not clear what we can do with them after they get used up or when they cannot hold a charge anymore. Most people might just opt to throw them away because they do not have any use anymore. But did you know that you can recycle single-use batteries?

It is actually great if we all can recycle batteries. It’s because most of them, regardless of what type, contain toxic chemicals like lead, lithium, and sulfuric acid. Therefore, if they end up in a landfill, they can leak out to the environment, leading to groundwater contamination, damaging ecosystems, and even blending into the food chain.

If you want to be eco-friendlier, and you want to try recycling batteries, we are here to give you some ideas. Here are the things you need to know about recycling single-use batteries.

Single-Use Batteries

As mentioned above, there are many different kinds of batteries out there. There are big differences among the batteries that you use to power a TV remote, a cellphone, and a car. Single-use batteries belong to the primary batteries category. They are designed to be used only once, and it includes disposable alkaline AAs, which are not very dangerous.

Before, single-use batteries like alkaline batteries used to contain mercury often. However, battery manufacturers stopped using the element essentially in the 1990s, after congress stepped in to control the industry. This means that today, single-use batteries are rather benign chemically. But this does not mean that you should just throw them away anywhere. It’s because the metal casing of a single-use battery can be recovered and reused. Also, even though the chemicals of the batteries today may be less toxic, they are still not safe or good for the environment.

Even though batteries differ from one another and single-use batteries are not that toxic, you should still try to recycle them.

Things to Consider Before Recycling Single-Use Batteries

If you want to try collecting and storing old batteries for recycling, there are some precautions you need to take. One is to not take the batteries and put them into a bag or keep them in a metal container. It’s because even when old batteries can no longer generate enough energy to power a device, they could still spark a fire if not handled carefully.

Therefore, if you want to recycle batteries, you need to store them in a secure container where they are lined side by side. This way, the contact points of each battery will not touch each other or brush up against anything conductive or metallic.

For a safer option, you can also opt to keep the original packaging of the batteries, if you aim to recycle them later on. After the batteries lose their power, you can reuse the packaging to house the spent batteries. And to not be confused about which are the old ones, you can simply use a permanent marker to put indications that they are old batteries.

After you’ve collected enough batteries that you wish to recycle and it is time to get rid of them, it’s better to check with the local ordinances first. Among the states, California is the strictest when it comes to battery disposal. It is illegal in this state to throw a single-use battery in the trash.

Where to Recycle Batteries?

If you are wondering where you can recycle the single-use batteries you have at home, then one of the best places to check is the website of your local government. A lot of municipalities host collection events for electronics and hazardous waste. There are also some that have permanent drop-off facilities for these items.

In states like New York and Minnesota, retailers of batteries are required to collect them from consumers for recycling. Other states, on the other hand, insist that battery manufacturers should fun or organize battery collection programs. There are also businesses, such as Lowe’s and Best Buy that have electronics recycling programs, and they accept batteries, as well.

You can also check Earth911 and Call2Recycle, which offer tools to help locate recycling drop-off points. You can use them to search for collections for different types of batteries.

There’s also an item being offered on Amazon called EZ on the Earth Dry Cell Battery Recycling Kit. This kit can be used to store single-use batteries like alkaline. It includes a pre-paid return shipping label so that when the box is full, you can just seal it and place it in your mailbox for postal pickup.

Throwing Away Single-Use Batteries

It can be challenging to find a place to recycle single-use batteries compared to rechargeable and car batteries in some parts of the country. It’s because they are more expensive to process, and many recyclers won’t accept them. But if you can recycle your alkaline and other single-use batteries, then you should.

If you really can’t find a place to recycle them, then putting them in the trash is your last resort. But before throwing them in the trash, you can stick a piece of tape over the contacts to lower the risk of fires. It’s also great if you can dispose of them in the original packing. And of course, never dispose them in fire because they could explode.

Even though single-use batteries do not have a lot of risk to the environment, just like other kinds of trash, we should still try to recycle them as much as possible. It will help in keeping the environment cleaner and greener.