How Do I: Get Rid of These Batteries?

The topic of recycling batteries may not necessarily be exciting, but it's certainly important! There are many ways to get rid of batteries responsibly, without having to add them to a landfill pile.

Why should you avoid throwing dead batteries in the trash? Electronics and electrical components contain heavy metals and toxic chemicals that can leak out, seep into the ground or water sources, and cause pollution and illness. Polluted water already causes enough problems - why would you want to add to the issues?

So, how to recycle batteries.

Your local Best Buy accepts old rechargeable batteries in their kiosks at the front of the store. In Louisiana specifically, you can drop off rechargeable batteries, laptop batteries, battery backups and cell phone batteries. They do not accept single-use batteries, rechargeable batteries more than 11 pounds, car batteries and lithium ion batteries. Check Best Buy's recycling page for information on your own state.

RecycleNation provides a directory guiding you where to recycle many different products, including single-use and lithium ion batteries. A quick search for single-use battery recycling near my zip code tells me that Radio Shack accepts them. A word of advice: Call the place where you want to go and confirm they do accept the items for recycling, BEFORE you drive out there. (Save you some gas!)

The Louisiana DEQ website breaks down e-cycling dropoff locations by city, and their definition of electronics covers rechargeable batteries.

Call2Recycle is a rechargeable battery and cell phone collection program that has collection sites all over the country. A search around Lafayette tells me there are collection sites at Home Depot, Lowes, Sears and Office Depot.

Some household e-waste and chemical collection days in cities will accept single-use batteries; just check with your city before your bring your stash.

Battery Solutions is a company that recycles a wide assortment of battery types, and they have instructions on how you can recycle with them.

Energizer has a new EcoAdvanced battery that contains 4% recycled batteries. Their claim is that the eco batteries require less mining of virgin material and reduce the amount of batteries consumers need to power their devices resulting in less waste. 

Rethink Recycling and Duracell both maintain that it's safe to throw away single-use batteries manufactured after 1993, when the Lead Battery Recycling Incentives Act amended the Solid Waste Disposal Act. As Duracell says, they discontinued the use of mercury as well in 1993. However, it's better to err on the safe side, and dispose of batteries without dumping them in a landfill. California even requires that batteries be recycled.

Larger or specialty batteries may require separate treatment. Auto batteries should be recycled by the store that changes it for you; if you change your own battery, contact an auto parts store to see if they can recycle it for you.

Looking into how to recycle old cell phones and their batteries? Check out this Eco Cajun blog post!

Read up on general electronics recycling in another blog post.

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