How to Dispose of Lithium Batteries

Lithium batteries present a serious fire hazard and should never be put into the trash or recycling bin. Lithium-ion batteries could spark flames when left in trucks or recycling facilities and pose risks for first responders who respond quickly in case of fire outbreak.

Rogue Disposal & Recycling hosts annual Household Hazardous Waste drop off events where lithium batteries can be recycled safely. You can also bring them directly to retail locations such as Best Buy, Home Depot and Lowe’s for free battery recycling services.

Rechargeable Batteries

People often do not realize the importance of recycling rechargeable batteries found in devices like cell phones and e-bikes as these hazardous materials should be recycled when their useful lifespan ends. Failing to properly manage them at this point could cause fires.

Westchester County law makes it illegal to dispose of rechargeable batteries or devices containing them improperly, so these items must be safely recycled during Household Hazardous Waste Collection events or visiting one of the locations listed on Call2Recycle/locator.

Batteries contain metals and chemicals which pollute the environment when released into groundwater supplies, potentially contaminating our drinking water as a result.

In order to protect the safety of sanitation workers, all batteries should be considered hazardous waste – alkaline, lithium, nickel cadmium and zinc chloride batteries alike – when being discarded as hazardous waste. This ensures they can be handled appropriately by sanitation workers without risk of injuries and fires occurring as a result of handling them improperly.

Lithium batteries (Li-ion), the dominant battery type on the market today, can be extremely hazardous when they reach their end of life. Li-ion cells contain chemicals which are both flammable and toxic if charged with electricity; when their charge has faded away they release toxic gasses which pose health hazards to users.

Li-ion batteries and devices that they power are a common mistake among many consumers; when put into municipal/household recycling bins they could end up at waste facilities not equipped to safely handle them and result in fires. If you own rechargeable batteries or devices containing them, check whether electronics stores, home improvement and big box stores such as Lowes Home Depot Best Buy and Batteries Plus Bulbs accept them for recycling instead.

Alternatively, if you don’t have access to recycling programs, take steps to store batteries separately from other electronics in a plastic bag and avoid placing them in tight recycling bins as this may release harmful gases that could ignite. For larger batteries needing disposal contact an electronics recycler such as Call2Recycle/locator who offer free battery disposal programs.

Single-Use Batteries

These everyday batteries (AA, AAA, C, D and 9-Volt) can be found in many household products and no longer contain mercury or other heavy metals that pose any potential danger. As they no longer pose any threats of fire risk when discarded as regular trash, tape their terminals for D and 9-Volt batteries to keep them from coming into contact with each other and sparking an accident.

Single-use batteries such as button cells or coin batteries are used in watches, hearing aids, car keyless entry remotes, toys, calculators and musical greeting cards. Because they contain silver and mercury compounds which pose an ingestion risk to children. DO NOT place button cells or coin batteries into your garbage or recycling.

Store batteries safely until finding an appropriate disposal method, which could include the manufacturer of the product or retailer where you bought it or your state waste management agency or local household hazardous waste program for guidance. If a battery or device becomes swollen and no longer functional, contact either of those entities or contact your state waste management agency or local household hazardous waste program immediately for advice.

Make sure your non-rechargeable alkaline and rechargeable lithium batteries are kept separate when storing them at home, or bringing them to recycling facilities for recycling. Mixing different kinds of batteries together, even when empty, can spark and start fires that spread rapidly; this type of fire is known as an incendiary fire and it’s the leading cause of fires at recycling facilities.

If you need to dispose of many single-use or rechargeable batteries, first see if any local electronic stores offer battery return programs. If they do, follow their instructions for recycling your batteries properly; otherwise you can drop them off at a household hazardous waste facility that accepts battery recycling.

If you need to dispose of large quantities of lithium-ion batteries, incineration is a cost-effective and environmentally sustainable method of disposing of them. Contact your local hazardous waste facility or search online for information on incinerator locations and requirements specific to businesses that produce a lot of batteries of this kind; generally these entities must register as hazardous waste generators and comply with industry rules when managing batteries at end-of-life.

Cell Phone Batteries

Standard single-use batteries that power your remote control, flashlight or cell phone can often be recycled at many of the same locations where rechargeable batteries can be recycled. These batteries, more commonly referred to as alkaline batteries, no longer contain mercury or any heavy metals and should be safely disposed of with your regular trash. These batteries are also among the easiest batteries to recycle; most electronics stores provide battery recycling kiosks or drop off programs for customers to utilize. When disposing of alkaline and rechargeable batteries, be careful to separate them from household recycling materials as this could potentially spark a fire. Taping the ends or placing rechargeables in plastic bags is a good way to protect them against accidental contact between terminals which could spark and potentially ignite a fire.

Lithium-ion or lithium-polymer batteries are rechargeable types found in most mobile phones, laptops and other electronic devices. While more expensive than standard single-use batteries, lithium-ion cells contain materials considered critical by the U.S. Geological Survey – such as cobalt lithium graphite. Recycling cells from these devices keeps these precious resources flowing back into our economy rather than throwing them away!

Westchester County in New York provides battery recycling programs at their transfer stations to residents. You may also bring batteries to an Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) collection event – just make sure that before doing so you confirm whether it accepts that particular battery type!

If a device or battery becomes swollen, this could indicate damage to its internal battery and present a fire hazard. When this occurs, remove the battery from its device and store in a cool container before transporting to a collection center or hazardous waste facility for collection. In addition, tape the terminals with non-conductive tape (electrical or other non-metallic tape will do), to help avoid accidental contact between terminals that could spark or short out.

Laptop Batteries

Laptops use lithium-ion rechargeable batteries to power them, and once these rechargeable batteries have become depleted they should be recycled responsibly. Placing them in the trash could result in their being damaged during transport or processing at recycling facilities, creating a fire hazard. For this reason, it’s wise to visit one of many laptop battery recycling schemes available, including those at Best Buy stores, Home Depot, Lowe’s or Staples stores – or specialist battery shops such as computer repair centers are another viable option for recycling them responsibly.

Lithium batteries may not contain mercury like alkaline batteries did, but they still pose a hazard if discarded improperly. Recycling lithium-ion batteries is the ideal way to dispose of them as these materials can be made into new batteries and other electronics that rely on lithium ion technology. Some local waste management companies and larger chain supermarkets and electronics retailers provide recycling programs. Do your research online and find a recycler near you who accepts your old batteries – then find out what types they accept and how to bring them in!

As an alternative, the county’s Household Hazardous Waste facility (HHW) does accept rechargeable and lithium batteries free of charge during Household Hazardous Waste days. You can bring in bags or taped ends/terminals into a box to protect from sparks and fire. For storage purposes, make sure they’re stored in vented plastic containers or cardboard boxes to release gases that might build up inside them that could spark sparks or fires.

Recycling all types of batteries we use daily should be an integral part of life, from rechargeable and single-use alkaline cells, to lithium ion ones found in laptops, cell phones and handheld power tools. Doing this will help reduce fire risks at waste and recycling facilities and may save some money with replacement costs that arise when dead batteries go unscraped properly.

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