How to Properly Dispose of Batteries

You probably know this about me by now. When I talk about batteries, I always emphasize the importance of using rechargeable batteries.

It just makes sense… for so many reasons. You’ll save time and money with rechargeable batteries. And you’ll be kinder to the environment.

You may not be convinced yet. Or you might want to use up your disposable batteries before switching to rechargeables. Either way, I hope you’ll consider this advice. 

Please make sure to dispose of old batteries in the proper fashion. If you’re not sure how to do that, you’ve come to the right place. That’s the topic of conversation for today.

Don’t make landfills even worse

Most ordinary batteries are not considered hazardous waste. I’m referring to regular alkaline, manganese and carbon-zinc batteries. 

But millions of these single-use batteries get thrown away every year. They help fill up landfills unnecessarily. And if they leak, some can spread lead, cadmium and mercury.

I’m talking AA, AAA , 9-volt and others. They’re frequently used for TV remotes, flashlights and children’s toys. As well as smoke detectors, fire alarms, cordless phones and other small electronics.

Depending on where you live, it may be illegal to dispose of old batteries in the regular trash. In California, for example, it’s illegal to throw away all types of batteries.

Battery recycling options

Some people choose to recycle their single-use batteries. Even when they’re not legally required to do so.

Here are several ways to do this. You can call your local solid waste district. Your community might have a collection program. Or an upcoming event.

You could do a search in your area for recycling centers that accept single-use batteries. These centers grind batteries into three different products. They are a paper, plastic and brass fraction. Plus a steel fraction and a zinc manganese concentrate.

Or you could find a mail-in recycling program that accepts batteries. Most programs sell a container to store used batteries that can be mailed when filled. 

To prep a single-use battery for recycling, you can bag each battery separately. Or place non-conductive clear tape over the ends to prevent a current transfer. A single-use battery incapable of running a device might still produce electricity.

Next, store the batteries in a plastic or cardboard container. One that doesn’t conduct electricity.

Better yet – get rechargeable batteries

Once you’ve disposed of your old batteries – or sooner – I hope you’ll make the change to rechargeable batteries.

Standard batteries have a bad habit of dying just when you need them most. And when you open that kitchen drawer, you find every type of battery except the one you need.

My suggestion is the 4Patriots Platinum USB-Rechargeable Battery Variety Pack.

It features five different battery types (AAA, AA, C, D and 9-volt) ready to go at a moment’s notice.

You can charge radios and flashlights with these rechargeable batteries. As well as smoke detectors and fire alarms. Plus emergency lights, TV remotes, toys and other items. And all your batteries are protected in hard-shell storage cases.

Why depend on single-use batteries? They could die at the worst possible time. Especially when you could use batteries that recharge up to 500 times.


  • Richard - January 20, 2022

    You are very correct but I also strongly feel all corporations/stores selling any type batteries should be required under penalty of law to take back batteries for recycling.
    Our politicians are to lazy or don’t care to get involved. Why, too many lobbyists.

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