Batteries can pose a challenge for businesses and households looking to do the right thing in terms of waste management. From small batteries in watches, to standard AA, AAA, C and D to computer and car batteries, proper disposal techniques can be confusing.
Batteries are electrochemical in nature, converting the substances within them into electrical energy. Some contain heavy metals like lead, mercury, nickel and cadmium as well as corrosive acids. These materials can contaminate the environment if batteries are not disposed of properly. Placing larger toxic batteries in landfills can pollute the soil and groundwater. Burning them can release toxic materials into the atmosphere.
The U.S. Mercury-Containing and Rechargeable Battery Management Act of 1996 makes it easier for battery manufacturers to collect and recycle small sealed lead-acid batteries and Ni-CD batteries. Batteries must now be easily removable from all products and include a recycling symbol/message on their casing. Mercury has also been removed from many consumer batteries, making them less toxic to the environment.
The following is an overview of proper waste management for common battery types:
Small batteries used in watches and other small electronics often contain hazardous substances like mercury. They should be disposed of at a designated collection point for hazardous materials.
Small single use batteries can be discarded in your regular trash. These include AA, AAA, 9V, D and C. When disposing of 9V batteries, it is recommended that you adhere a piece of tape over the terminals to prevent the risk of short circuiting and fire.
Li batteries are used in cameras and other electronics that require a lot of power. While these can also be thrown in the regular trash, there are more eco-friendly disposal options available in most communities. It is recommended that you adhere a piece of tape over the end of the battery to prevent the risk of short circuiting and fire.
Rechargeable batteries come in many forms ranging from those used in consumer products to cell phones, laptops and tablets. While they are eco-friendly due to their rechargeable nature, disposing of them poses a risk to the environment. Disposable batteries are considered hazardous and should be taken to a designated battery collection point.
Car batteries contain both sulfuric acid and lead. Because of this, they are considered hazardous waste. Most service stations will dispose of used car batteries for a cost, or find a hazardous waste disposal site set up to take them.
While there are many types of batteries and different ways to properly dispose of them, a little research can help keep you informed about the appropriate steps to take when it comes to eco-friendly ways of battery disposal.
LRS is here to assist you in all facets of waste management and recycling. If you have questions about any item, we’re here to provide guidance. We can also provide waste removal and recycling services for your residential and commercial needs.