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How to Dispose of Used Battery?

As more and more types of electrical appliances are used, a variety of batteries have emerged. We often meet some questions:

  • How do you discard the used battery?
  • Does home depot take a used battery?
  • Where can I dispose of the battery near us?
  • Which bin does the used battery go in?
  • How to deal with waste batteries to be more environmentally friendly?
  • Can I throw it into the ordinary trash can?
  • And so on……
Dispose Used Battery
Dispose Used Batteries

For many of the above questions, there is only one core, how to deal with used batteries? This should be treated differently. Different batteries have different treatment methods.

For our ordinary household batteries, they are mainly disposable alkaline battery, disposable carbon zinc battery (also called heavy duty battery), Lithium battery, Ni-MH battery, and Lead-acid battery:

未命名的设计 1
  • Alkaline battery: LR6/AA, LR03/AAA, LR20/D, 6LR61/9V, LR14/C, LR44/AG13, 3LR12 and so on.
  • Carbon zinc battery (also called heavy duty battery): R6/AA, R03/AAA, R20/D, 6F22/9V, R14/C
  • Lithium battery and Lithium-ion battery: 18650 battery, phone calls, and laptop battery.
  • Rechargeable Ni-MH battery: Ni-MH AA and Ni-MH AAA.
  • Lead-acid batteries: commonly are used to power automobiles, industrial equipment, emergency lighting, and alarm systems. 

#1. Alkaline Batteries and Carbon Zinc Battery Can Be Tossed Into a Regular Trash Can, Because They Are Usually Non-Hazardous.

alkaline vs zinc battery
Microcell Alkaline Battery &Zinc-Carbon Battery

Alkaline batteries and carbon zinc batteries are the common household types found in remotes, clocks, flashlights, smoke detectors and other wireless devices.

In accordance with the IEC-60086 regulations of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), as well as EU battery directive of 2006/66/EC and its Article 4 amendment of Directive 2013/56/EU-Heavy Metals Content in Batteries and Accumulators, there is no Mercury and Cadmium in alkaline batteries and carbon zinc batteries.

Alkaline batteries and carbon zinc batteries, the main cost is zinc, manganese dioxide, electrolyte, etc., most of these substances exist in nature, will not cause pollution to the natural environment, from the perspective of the composition of raw materials, will not pollute the land and Water source.

Of course, except in California in USA,In California, it is illegal to dispose of alkaline batteries in the trash. Authorities in some other states treat alkaline batteries as hazardous household waste, while state laws in other states do not distinguish alkaline batteries from household waste.

According to California’s Universal Waste Rule, This regulation designates a category of hazardous wastes called “universal waste.” This category includes all batteries of sizes AAA, AA, C, D, 9 Volt, button cell, and all other batteries, both rechargeable, and single-use.

#2. Used Lithium Batteries Cannot Be Thrown Away at Will, They Need To Be Sorted and Processed According To Different Types.

18650 lithium ion li ion batteries
18650 Lithium-ion Battery

Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries contain a variety of chemical substances. Improper disposal can have serious consequences. Lithium is highly reactive and difficult to control. Lithium is very active. It is easy to catch fire or even explode when exposed to heat, squeeze, pre-collision, etc. Therefore, we cannot discard lithium batteries at will. They must be placed in designated locations for unified recycling and disposal. Otherwise, it may cause environmental pollution and property damage.

At the same time, lithium batteries can be recycled, but they can only be used in licensed processing facilities. When discarding, it must be disposed of at a household electronic waste collection point or a place where batteries are recycled.

The recycling cost of lithium batteries is lower than that of used lithium batteries, so it has economic benefits. In addition to the potential economic benefits, recycling can also reduce the amount of material that enters the landfill. Cobalt, nickel, manganese and other metals found in batteries can easily leak out of the casing buried in batteries, polluting soil and groundwater, and threatening ecosystems and human health.

In Europe, the European Commission’s proposed regulations on lithium-ion sustainability include requirements for the use of recyclable components of lithium, cobalt and nickel in lithium-ion batteries sold in the European Union. The proposed regulations also require 100% collection of electric vehicle (EV) batteries.

#3. If the NI-MH Battery Is Used up, You Can Refer To the Disposal Method of Alkaline Batteries. if the Quantity Is Small, It Can Be Treated as Ordinary Garbage.

ni mh
MICROCELL Ni-MH Battery

The nickel and electrolyte in NiMH batteries are semi-toxic, which is why the landfill only allows these batteries to be used in small amounts. Throwing away a piece of ordinary household garbage will not pose too much threat to the battery. However, if a lot of batteries are buried, it will pollute the soil and water. At present, various countries are also exploring and specifying different specifications, with the purpose of recycling as much as possible and reducing the environmental pollution.

#4. Used Lead-Acid Batteries Cannot Be Thrown Away at Will, and Must Be Handed Over To a Designated Place or Recycling Agency for Disposal.

铅酸蓄电池
Lead-acid batteries

Lead-acid batteries are often called car batteries. They contain toxic heavy metals (lead) and corrosive liquids (sulfuric acid), both of which are dangerous substances.

Generally speaking, when you buy lead-acid batteries, there will be instructions to inform them of the harmfulness of lead-acid batteries and instruct them how to dispose of used batteries. Each country has different regulations. Some countries require retailers to replace them with new ones, that is, when the battery cannot be used normally, it can be returned to the retailer to compensate for the difference in exchange for a new battery. At the same time, retailers return to the factory or the government-designated battery recycling agency for harmless treatment.

At present, in some developed countries, some recyclable battery factories have gradually been established to carry out special recycling. Used household lead-acid batteries can be consulted by calling the community or the local environmental protection department. They cannot be simply discarded.

Carl Zhang

Carl Zhang

I am a senior sales with 15 years in the battery industry and a bachelor's degree in economics.
I will be sharing some of my expertise on batteries and my insights into the battery industry in my blog, which should help you with your purchases in China.

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