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Rechargeable Battery Law Retailer Requirements

 rechargeable batteries

The New York State rechargeable battery law requires stores that sell rechargeable batteries (or products containing rechargeable batteries) to accept rechargeable batteries for recycling during normal business hours, no purchase necessary.

In addition, it is illegal to discard rechargeable batteries in the trash (or residential recycling containers) in New York State.

Manufacturers are required to pay for the cost of collection and disposal of rechargeable batteries. The Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC) is an organization set up by rechargeable battery manufacturers to facilitate the recycling of these products. RBRC runs a free rechargeable battery recycling program called Call2Recycle that your company can utilize to be in compliance with the NYS Rechargeable Battery Law.

what kinds of stores are required to comply?
how can New York retailers comply?
how can online, mail, and telephone retailers comply?
what must be accepted?
why rechargeable batteries?

rechargeable battery and cell phone recycling: info for agencies
nyc rechargeable battery law: info for consumers 

What kinds of stores are required to comply?

With the exception of food stores with less than 14,000 square feet of display space, all New York stores that sell rechargeable batteries (or products containing rechargeable batteries) must accept rechargeable batteries for recycling.

Retailers who sell rechargeable batteries (or products containing rechargeable batteries) through the internet, mail, or telephone to New York residents must notify their customers about opportunities to recycle rechargeable batteries at no cost.

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How can New York City retailers comply?

1.    Sign up online for the free Call2Recycle recycling program. Go to leaving NYCWasteLess, click on "Retailers" in the green navigation bar on the right, and follow the easy steps, or call the toll-free telephone number 877-723-1927. Participants will receive a free collection container.

2.    Set up a convenient location within the store to accept rechargeable batteries. 

3.     Post a sign (8.5” x 11”) near store entrance that states:
It is illegal to dispose of rechargeable batteries in the state of New York as solid waste. We accept used rechargeable batteries for return to the manufacturer.

Call2Recycle has free sample signs available for download for their participants.

4.      Accept rechargeable batteries (up to ten per person) during normal business hours, no purchase necessary.


Follow safety and shipping requirements.

U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has specific guidelines regarding the collection, handling, and transport of batteries. These requirements exist to prevent situations that can arise from two specific types of battery hazards:

  1. Chemicals or other materials contained in the battery, and
  2. Electrical potential of the battery.

The Call2Recycle program has a summary leaving NYCWasteLess of the steps retailers need to take to comply with collection , storage, and transportation regulations.


6..      Mail back full rechargeable battery collection containers to Call2Recycle using the shipping label on the container.

in-store collection of rechargeable batteries

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How can online, mail, and telephone retailers comply?

 1.    Online, mail, and telephone retailers must notify customers purchasing rechargeable batteries (or products containing rechargeable batteries) about how to recycle rechargeable batteries at no cost.

 2.    Notification must occur either at the time of purchase or delivery of the product.
Notification Examples include:
  • Information on receipt, invoice, or confirmation e-mail.
  • Information on separate e-mail or message.
  • Flyer or return envelope provided within product packaging or shipping container.
 3.    The required notice can include any program where there is no cost to the customer to return rechargeable batteries.
All retailers can use the Call2Recycle program to notify their customers.   

Call2Recycle maintains a website ( leaving NYCWasteLess) and a toll-free "hotline" phone number (877-2-RECYCLE), where individuals can find a location to bring rechargeable batteries for recycling.  

Call2Recycle provides free web banners leaving NYCWasteLess for online retailers who wish to include a link to the Call2Recycle website.

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What must be accepted?

 rechargeable batteries
 cell phone battery
Nickel cadmium, nickel metal hydride, nickel zinc*, lithium ion, or lead acid rechargeable batteries (including UPS batteries up to 25 pounds).**

Stores are only required to accept the same types of rechargeable batteries that they sell; however, the Call2Recycle program accepts all types of rechargeable batteries at no cost to the retailer.

Stores must also accept rechargeable batteries found in the products they sell.

Examples of products containing rechargeable batteries include cellular and cordless phones, digital cameras, MP3 players, laptop computers, remote control toys, electric razors, and cordless power tools.

*Nickel zinc batteries are not required by law to be accepted, however retailers can accept them through the Call2Recycle program at no additional cost.
 ** Call2Recycle accepts lead acid batteries that weigh up to eleven pounds. If a store sells UPS batteries between eleven and 25 pounds, it must contact the manufacturer directly to set up a program to accept these batteries from the public.

 cell phonedigital cameramp3 playerlaptopremote control toyelectric shaver cordless drill

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Why rechargeable batteries?

While rechargeable batteries reduce waste and can be more economical than regular household batteries, they may contain cadmium, lead and other heavy metals.

Prior to this law passing, over 300 retailers in NYC already accepted rechargeable batteries for recycling through the Call2Recycle program leaving NYCWasteLess. Various wireless providers have also been accepting cell phones and accessories, including their rechargeable batteries, for recycling or donation to charity.

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