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How to dispose of batteries properly

Updated on October 10, 2014

Before you drop those spent batteries in the trash...

Consider doing something else with your old batteries.  Unlike glass, paper, and plastic, which fill up landfills, but are relatively benign, batteries are filled with reactive chemicals.  Take a minute to learn more about how you can properly dispose of batteries, and help keep hazardous, toxic chemicals out of landfills.

And next time you need new batteries, consider getting some rechargeables.  Two AA Ni-Cad rechargeable batteries can replace up to 600 single-use batteries.

Koo-koo-kachoo! Thank you, Squidoo!

This lens has been selected as Squidoo's Lens of the Day for July 2, 2008. I'm so excited!

Thanks for visiting, and I hope you find some useful information here. Cheers!

Three important safety tips for dead batteries

1. Never dispose of batteries in fire, as they could explode.

2. Remove worn-out batteries from equipment immediately and dispose of promptly.

3. Do not attempt to recharge a battery unless the battery specifically is marked "rechargeable." Dispose of immediately.

Video information on how and why to recycle batteries

Find out where you can take your batteries with this handy search

Over at Earth 911, you can type in the type of thing you need to dispose or recycle (like batteries, mobile phone, computer stuff, etc.) and your zip code, and you will get a list of local places to drop your junk. Give it a try!

If you're making a trip to a drop-off location, why not involve your neighborhood or school in a group project? Place a collection bin in a common area, or have people save their own batteries and electronics discards until a certain day. Then once a month or so, take all of the batteries and other electronics to the designated recycling drop-off location. Hooray!

Please Recycle Your Batteries

Call2Recycle: another resource for recycling rechargeable batteries

Visit Call2Recycle to search for a place to take your used rechargeable batteries and cell phones.

From the site:

Call2Recycle, the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC) can help you recycle your used portable rechargeable batteries and old cell phones. Rechargeable batteries are commonly found in cordless power tools, cellular and cordless phones, laptop computers, camcorders, digital cameras, and remote control toys. RBRC recycles the following battery chemistries: Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cd), Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH), Lithium Ion (Li-ion) and Small Sealed Lead* (Pb). RBRC is dedicated to keeping rechargeable batteries and cell phones out of our nation's solid waste stream and preserving natural resources.

Not all batteries are accepted as hazardous waste in all areas

switch to rechargeable batteries!

In most parts of the US, household alkaline batteries (non-rechargeable AA and AAA type batteries) are not classified as hazardous waste, and are supposed to be put in the trash. Some people have reported that their local hazardous waste offices have refused to accept batteries at hazardous waste drop-offs, and they have been directed to put them with the regular garbage.

This is because in the US, batteries manufactured after May 13, 1996 contain no added mercury (except for button cell batteries, which contain a little bit of mercury), and are less hazardous to the environment than they used to be.

However, in California and in a few other places, household alkaline batteries may be regulated more strictly. To find out what to do with used batteries in your area, search at Earth 911 or The Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC).

So, if you have a choice between buying and using regular batteries for your household electronics (remote control, smoke detector, flashlights, etc.), and rechargeable batteries, what will you choose? The regular alkaline batteries, which can't be recharged, reused, or easily recycled, and end up in the landfill; or the rechargeables, which can be recharged, reused, and recycled when you're finished with them?

Get rechargeable batteries! Let's all do it together!

Check out these new USB rechargeable batteries

I think these little USB rechargeable batteries are going to be huge. They are NiMH cells, rechargeable at any USB port. You don't need a cradle and cable. Just charge and go. Not only are they easy to use, but they are nicer for the environment, by preventing the disposal of lots of regular batteries. I don't remember all the chemistry of batteries in landfills (those grad-school brain cells have been taken over by new bits of information, like the names of all four Wiggles), but batteries in landfills are bad! Did you know that two AA Ni-Cad rechargeable batteries can replace up to 600 single-use batteries?

In addition to AA cells, they will be available in AAA, 9 volt, and sizes for cell phones and PDAs. Visit for more information.

Want to share a tip on recycling old batteries? Go ahead!

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    • profile image

      CatJGB 4 years ago

      We use recyclables now, but I never was sure what to do with them when they no longer hold a charge. Thanks for the info!

    • profile image

      Doc_Holliday 4 years ago

      Good advice. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 5 years ago

      I save old batteries and take them to a e-recycle center. Thank you for publishing this lens. We need more articles like this one.

    • profile image

      pawpaw911 5 years ago

      Great information. Well covered.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      great lens! thank for sharing

      ''TOP 10 Nimh Batteries

    • profile image

      selink 5 years ago

      Batteries should be disposed of properly so that they would not harm our environment. It is made up of chemicals that very dangerous to humans health. This could be prevented if we would be entrusting them to hazardous waste Long Beach for they could handle them properly to make it useful again. Aside from that, making use of usb rechargeable battery would be a brilliant ideas to reduce consumption or disposable batteries.

    • olsonjc lm profile image

      olsonjc lm 5 years ago

      even old car batteries are recycable

    • waldenthreenet profile image

      waldenthreenet 5 years ago

      Valuable topic. I have to see where there is a battery recycling bin in my community in Northern Virginia. Congrad on reaching level 53 on Squidoo. I just got there myself. Thanks.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Hey I have reviewed your squidoo lens and I really liked it. Because of this I went ahead and âlikeâ you on squidoo. Giving your lens another like.

      When you have time, please take a look at my lens. It is located at

      If you like my lens, please add a like to my lens as well. I am new to squidoo and I would appreciate any comments at all.

    • adamfrench profile image

      adamfrench 6 years ago

      Impressive lens, thumbs up

    • sushilkin lm profile image

      sushilkin lm 6 years ago

      Thanks for sharing your knowledge here. Contribute your like - PRAY FOR JAPAN

    • sushilkin lm profile image

      sushilkin lm 6 years ago

      Thanks for sharing your knowledge here. Contribute your like - PRAY FOR JAPAN

    • profile image

      ShamanicShift 6 years ago

      Thank-you for lensing this useful, green information!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      nice lens, this way we know how to properly recycle it.


      coin magic | amazing magic tricks

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      U helped me on homework. Cheers!!!!!

    • casperfei profile image

      casperfei 8 years ago

      Great info about How to dispose of batteries properly. Featured and lensrolled to my lens How to recycle used batteries

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      hey now i now wut to do

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 8 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      great resource lens and timely for Earth Day...5*****

    • profile image

      LifeChangesNetwork 8 years ago

      Great lens! I was wondering what to do about batteries. I noticed the crossed out trash can on the packaging but there has never been anything on the package saying what to do with them.

      Thanks for the great lens, I'll give it a five and post it to my Facebook for other to find.

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

      MargoPArrowsmith 9 years ago

      This is an important lens! I will put it in my squidoo library lens! 5*

    • Mortira profile image

      Mortira 9 years ago

      It's too bad that so few people realize that what you throw in the trash will inevitably end up in your drinking water. Thanks for helping us to keep the earth a little cleaner! 5 stars and a lensroll!

    • profile image

      ecogreenbags 9 years ago

      Excellent work and a great resource! Lensrolled onto our paint disposal lens.

    • WritingforYourW profile image

      WritingforYourW 9 years ago

      Good information. I definitely need to pick up a recharger. I've been lazy about batteries since switching from a walkman to an ipod, since I don't use as many, but there are still some around the house.

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 9 years ago

      I am so pleased to find out that my favorite battery company, Duracell, has made their battery mercury free! yeah! Thanks for the wonderful information here.

      I hope to improve my "Green" Book lenses and make them as good as yours.

      5 stars from me!

    • SilverLotus1 profile image

      SilverLotus1 9 years ago

      5 stars! I've just added it to my lens Your Green Guide.

    • chemrat profile image

      chemrat 9 years ago

    • niveKevin profile image

      niveKevin 9 years ago

      This is one of the most complete lenses I have ever seen. Good job - 5 stars!

      Check out my lens about Rechargeable NiMH Batteries - Cheaper and Better Than Alkaline a>.

    • chemrat profile image

      chemrat 9 years ago

    • profile image

      youhavegottobekidding 9 years ago

      Great Lens. It could really help our environment. especially no a days the we are some what experiencing Global Warming.

      5 star for you.

    • profile image

      HeartforHaiti 9 years ago

      Thank you! Very helpful and informative. GO GREEN!

    • profile image

      totalhealth 9 years ago

      thanks for that information on proper battery disposal. and USB batteries seems to be a good idea

    • profile image

      exerciseinhome 9 years ago

      Hey thanks for the tips, I am forever trying to get my mates to dispose of batteries properly, it is simply a misunderstood thing, most people have no idea how to properly dispose of them. Thanks for bringing it back to the front of peoples minds.

    • theXodus profile image

      theXodus 9 years ago

      Those usb batteries are really cool!

    • profile image

      Lakota429 9 years ago

      Excellent lens! Congratulations on LOTD!!!! Wonderful information. 5 stars! Annie~

    • profile image

      Angel-Sky 9 years ago

      Cool! This is a wonderful lens! Thanks for bringing it to us! Please check out my site about low cost car insurance, how to obtain cheap classic car insurance and car insurance for females 5 stars for your wonderful lens!! I really appreciate your effort.

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      congrats for becoming the lens of the day! :) Very helpful lens not only for the people but for the environment. 5* deserving.

    • profile image

      lifelongfitness 9 years ago

      Great lens. Congrats on lens of the day. very useful information. A little effort makes a big difference

    • profile image

      DebMartin 9 years ago

      Thanks for the info! Especially about rechargeable batteries. It's about time we all used them. My local fire department collects batteries for safe disposal. It's a great service. If you don't have a good place to dispose of your old batteries, encourage your fire department to provide that service.

    • Encourager LM profile image

      Encourager LM 9 years ago

      Great lens! Congratulations on Lotd!


    • Maripa LM profile image

      Maripa LM 9 years ago

      Good lens! Did I here you say duh..:)

      Is there anything you can't find on squidoo.

      We could definitely use this information in my country Suriname.Batteries are dumped here everywhere.

      Peace to you!

    • profile image

      ZoeSPEAK 9 years ago

      Congrats, glad you are LOTD! I have 3 dead batteries and was just wondering how to dispose of them. Thank you!

    • profile image

      Believer 9 years ago

      Thanks for this important and useful information. When I searched the 911 site I also discovered that Staples recycles loads of things including ink cartridges. Congratulations on getting lens of the day. Always glad to see it go to an eco-friendly squidoo. :-) (Happy Fourth of July!)

    • triathlontraini1 profile image

      triathlontraini1 9 years ago

      Congrats on LotD!!

      Very nice and informative lens. :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      Thanks for the tips!

    • profile image

      Joan4 9 years ago

      Great lens! Congrats on LOTD!

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      Great lens!!Excellent lens with great information. A lesson for us all ! This one my faverate topic's Invriomental Green Products Inc. or have a look at

    • profile image

      globalholidays 9 years ago

      Excellent lens with great information. A lesson for us all !

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 9 years ago

      Great lens. Congratulations on LOTD!

    • profile image

      belaboo 9 years ago

      Great job and good information!


    • profile image

      serendipityrose 9 years ago

      Awesome lens! I think this is one of the most useful lenses I've seen so far! Thanks for the information!

    • profile image

      dtbs 9 years ago

      interesting lens! thanks for sharing this info! please check mine out at----------------> Kava Kava.

    • RuthCoffee profile image

      RuthCoffee 9 years ago

      Congrats on lens of the day! You have some very useful information and resources here.

    • profile image

      creativeness 9 years ago

      I would like to use more rechargeable batteries but some products tell you NOT to use them!! Perhaps all products should allow for using rechargeable ones.

    • profile image

      Histereo 9 years ago

      A very informative lens on batteries.If the scrap batteries are not handled properly,they can become a deadly health hazard.Recharging will go a long way in tackling this problem.

      5***** to this lens

    • casnider profile image

      casnider 9 years ago

      I was feeling guilty for putting batteries in the trash... now I'll switch over to rechargables. Thanks for this useful info. I give you 5 starts too. Got any more unique ideas for a lens?

    • profile image

      ideasbymarz 9 years ago

      I love re-chargeable batts Very nice lens

    • ChristopherScot1 profile image

      ChristopherScot1 9 years ago

      Great lens!

    • Fox Music profile image

      Fox Music 9 years ago

      Congrats on your "energized" Lens of the Day!!

      Great topic for the land of excess -- recycle or die

    • Richiewest profile image

      Richiewest 9 years ago from Devon, United Kingdom.

      Ace lens. Millions of batteries are binned every day. I've used rechargeables for years now, and they save a lot of money too. I also promote eco-drive watches... Fuelled by light, no more watch batteries!!

    • profile image

      GrowWear 9 years ago

      Highly informative. :) A well-deserved LOTD.

    • patinkc profile image

      patinkc 9 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks, I needed this info!! And congratulations!

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 9 years ago from Southampton, UK

      Congratulations on Lens Of The Day. Useful tips.

    • profile image

      britney-smith 9 years ago

      Very innovative lens ! I love this and give you 5 stars !

    • SteveAtkinson profile image

      SteveAtkinson 9 years ago

      I've been on the bandwagon for proper disposal/recycling of old batteries for over 10 years. Love the lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      Congrats on LOTD, excellent information and lens! - Kathy

    • GreenRevolution profile image

      GreenRevolution 9 years ago

      Cool lens! Great information on how we can dispose of old batteries without harming the environment. Great job! 5 *****


    • Franksterk profile image

      Frankie Kangas 9 years ago from California

      Well done with information that everyone should know. Congrats on LotD. Well deserved. 5 stars and a favorite. Bear hugs, Frankster

    • LisaDH profile image

      LisaDH 9 years ago

      Nice work! The Wal-Mart near me has a recycle bin for old alkaline batteries. Makes it very easy to drop them off!

    • ClassyGals profile image

      Cynthia Davis 9 years ago from Pittsburgh

      Congrats on lens of the day! Thanks for teaching us about the proper way of disposing of batteries. The greener the better.

    • ShannonC LM profile image

      Shannon Chiarenza 9 years ago from Vancouver bc

      Great lens...I've always wondered how to properly dispose of batteries...congrats on LOTD!

    • dreamsgate lm profile image

      dreamsgate lm 9 years ago

      Thank you for gathering so much useful info in one spot. Batteries are something I never really thought much about.

      LOL, then again, I find that the older I get the more I tend to think about these kinds of things.

    • profile image

      Tracy-B 9 years ago

      Very interesting!




    • Squidoo-Pat profile image

      Squidoo-Pat 9 years ago

      Useful info-thanks. Rechargables are the way to go, especially if you're shooting photos with a digital camera. They eat regular batts. I've saved a lot of money using them. I think it's actually a violation of the law to throw them in the trash in California.

    • jenms lm profile image

      jenms lm 9 years ago

      Congrats on LOTD! Wow - those USB rechargeable batteries are cool! Of course how long will USB be an active technology is the question!

    • chefkeem profile image

      Achim Thiemermann 9 years ago from Austin, Texas

      I appreciate your thorough and concise presentation of this important subject. Well-deserved LotD. Congrats and 5*s.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 9 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Actually interesting information here! (Who'd have thought batteries could be interesting?) Congrats on LOTD!

    • KarenKnightBenn profile image

      KarenKnightBenn 9 years ago

      Congrats on Lens Of The Day! Those USB rechargeable batteries sound great. This is a very informative lens. Thanks!

    • pylemountain1 profile image

      pylemountain1 9 years ago

      Very useful lens. I'm working toward using all rechargeable batteries. Congratulations on your Lens of the Day award.

    • profile image

      bdkz 9 years ago

      Congratutaltions on LOTD!

    • profile image

      homelydad 9 years ago

      Well done! Earth does need saving... and we all have a part to play!



    • profile image

      chloecavanaugh 9 years ago

      Congrats on LOTD!



    • religions7 profile image

      religions7 9 years ago

      Congrats on making LOTD!

    • religions7 profile image

      religions7 9 years ago

      Great information on an important topic. Thanks. *****

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      Thanks again for the kind comment on my site. This is a great page. I guess I will have to learn just what this squidoo thing is!


    • profile image

      Celtica 9 years ago

      Well done, hmsweaver - the more lenses there are like this one the better! (what am I waiting for?) 5 stars for you and the environment!

    • Janet2221 profile image

      Janet2221 10 years ago

      Great job on the lens! Very informative.

    • profile image

      AllThingsMichigan 10 years ago

      Excellent job here. We used to have a local drop off for recyclables that accepted batteries, but due to abuse (i.e. people dumping their trash) they no longer accept batteries or anything else.

    • geeky247 profile image

      Heather Weaver 10 years ago from Colorado

      Thanks for the comment clouda9! I was fascinated by all the info I found about batteries. Glad you liked it!

    • clouda9 lm profile image

      clouda9 lm 10 years ago

      Just talking about this at work today! Awesome info and e-mailed to co-workers tonight.