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Rechargeable Battery Law

 rechargeable batteries

It illegal to discard rechargeable batteries in the trash (or residential recycling containers), under NY State's Rechargeable Battery Law.

All New York stores that sell rechargeable batteries or products that contain rechargeable batteries (with the exception of small food stores) are required to accept up to ten batteries of the same shape and size as they sell, under the NY State Rechargeable Battery Law. Other batteries, such as alkaline and button batteries, are not required to be recycled. For disposal information on non-rechargeable batteries, visit battery disposal tips.

where to recycle rechargeable batteries
what must be accepted
safety and packaging requirements 
why rechargeable batteries
other alternatives 

info for retailers 
battery tips 
rechargeable battery and cell phone recycling: info for agencies

Where to Recycle Rechargeable Batteries

  • All stores in New York State, such as hardware, office supply, wireless telephone, and electronics stores that sell rechargeable batteries (or products containing rechargeable batteries) must accept rechargeable batteries for recycling, no purchase necessary.
  • Each battery must be placed into its own sealable plastic bag (provided at the counter) before being placed into the collection box.
  • For a list of locations, visit the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation's Call2Recycle program website. rechargeable battery collection at retail store
  • Stores must set up a convenient location within the store to accept rechargeable batteries and post a sign near the store entrance.
  • If a store refuses to accept your batteries, please contact the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation leaving NYCWasteLess online or call 1-800-TIPP DEC (1-800-847-7332).

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 rechargeable batteries
 cell phone battery
What Must Be Accepted
  • Nickel cadmium, nickel metal hydride, nickel zinc*, lithium ion, or lead acid rechargeable batteries (including UPS batteries up to 25 pounds).**
  • Up to ten batteries of the same size and shape can be brought to a store for recycling. Please note: stores are only required to take the type of batteries they sell, however, many will accept all types of rechargeable batteries.
  • Stores must also accept rechargeable batteries found in the products they sell.
  • Large Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) batteries are not covered under this law. For information on how to dispose of UPS batteries, visit the batteries section of the takeback page.

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 most retailers will accept them.
** Call2Recycle accepts lead acid batteries that weigh up to eleven pounds. For UPS batteries over eleven pounds and up to 25 pounds, check with the retailer who sold it, or contact the manufacturer directly for take-back instructions.  


digital cameramp3 playerlaptopremote control toyelectric shavercordless drill

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Safety and Packaging 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 safety video leaving NYCWasteLess summarizing the basic steps that need to be followed.

A summary of the rules follows:

  • Each battery must be placed it its own sealable plastic bag to insulate batteries during transport
  • Each cell phone containing a battery must be placed it its own sealable plastic bag to insulate during transport 
  • Batteries must be placed into DOT approved collection boxes, provided by Call2Recycle
  • If bags are unavailable, place electrical, duct, or masking tape over both battery terminals
  • Do not overfill boxes

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Why Rechargeable Batteries?

Compared to single-use batteries, rechargeable batteries reduce waste; however they contain cadmium, lead, and other heavy metals which can be dangerous if not disposed of properly.

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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Other Alternatives

Household rechargeable batteries, as well as other household batteries, can be brought to any NYC Department of Sanitation self-help household special waste drop-off site or upcoming SAFE disposal events.

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