In the 1990s, the US Environmental Protection Agency identified batteries as the largest source of mercury in municipal solid waste streams. If not properly handled, mercury exposure can be hazardous to human health and the environment. As the result of legislation and public pressure, the battery industry has removed mercury from virtually all household batteries.
Batteries You Must Recycle
- Rechargeable batteries: Rechargeable batteries may contain mercury, cadmium, lead and other heavy metals which can be dangerous if not disposed properly. It is illegal to discard rechargeable batteries in the trash.
Batteries You Can Put in the Trash
- Alkaline: Standard alkaline batteries are not considered hazardous waste since they no longer contain mercury. Place alkaline batteries in your regular trash.
- Lead Acid Batteries (Uninterruptible power source supplies): Many retailers that sell lead acid batteries take them back free of charge. Some charge a processing fee, and some require the purchase of a new battery.
How to Dispose Batteries
- Return Programs: Manufacturers must accept your electronics for recycling free of charge. State Law requires retailers or manufacturers to accept most electronic items.
- Trade-In Programs: These programs will accept your items for recycling even if they are appraised at little or no value.
- SAFE Events: Sanitation collects harmful products, electronics, medications and mobile phones for recycling and safe disposal.