Recycling Dead Disposable Batteries

April 23, 2019

© Omar Sheriff | Dreamstime

You are probably braking the law and what's scary about it is you may not know you are performing an illegal activity. Florida law prohibits the disposal of rechargeable batteries into the trash. While it's been known that liquid batteries, such as car and boat batteries, can be dangerous if disposed of incorrectly, lesser known regulations regarding rechargeable batteries such as AAs, AAAs, Cs and Ds, the battery in your phone and even some button cell watch batteries had many of us illegally dumping them into the trash can. Because these types of batteries contain heavy metals and other toxic chemicals they are harmful to the environment. But tossing them into your recycling bin is not the proper or safe way to dispose of them either.  Many recycle centers are not designed to handle batteries and they can rupture during the transportation of recyclables and cause fires. In fact, Lithium Ion Batteries are one of the leading causes of recycling truck fires. It is it is why Florida is one of many states that require battery producers to fund battery recycling programs, which are collected at every Home Depot and Lowes Home Improvement store in the state.  Recycling programs at Best Buy and Staples also can be used to recycle rechargeable batteries. Plus there are local programs that accept rechargeable batteries such as the Alachua County Household Hazardous Waste Collection Center in Gainesville and the Alachua High Springs Solid Waste Collection Center in High Springs.  Non-profit organizations, such as 911 Call Phone Bank in Ocala accepts old cell phones (and their batteries) and repurposes them for senior citizens and victims of abuse. As for those batteries in remote controls, radios and flashlights, start off by keeping batteries that no longer are useful lined up side-by-side, so the contact points can’t touch each other or brush up against anything that’s metallic or conductive. As for single-use alkaline batteries (non-rechargeable), they no longer contain toxic metals are not ideal for recycling programs, with most not accepting them at this time. However many cities and counties will collect single-use batteries during their household hazardous waste collection events. But if don’t want to hang on to dead alkaline batteries until a recycling event and you end up tossing alkaline batteries into the trash, stick a piece of tape over the contacts. That will lower the risk of fires. Disposing of them in the original packing helps, too.

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SOURCE: Consumper Reports

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