Tips for safely recycling household batteries


(BPT) - Do you have a pile of used household batteries hidden in your junk drawer or a coffee can in the garage? You know you should be environmentally responsible and recycle them, but you aren’t sure where to start, so the pile grows larger.

But did you also know that extra precautions are required when storing and recycling batteries? Some retain a residual charge even after they can no longer properly power a device. These batteries can be a safety risk because their power has not been completely used up and they can combust or spark, causing a fire or other safety incident.

That’s why it’s important for anyone with used batteries to embrace some simple safety tips when storing them. Call2Recycle's consumer battery recycling program offers these recommendations for safely protecting your batteries to avoid any issues:

1. Bag each battery in its own clear plastic bag before placing it in a storage container. If a bag isn’t available, you can tape the terminals with clear packing, non-conductive electrical or duct tape. Avoid masking, painter and Scotch tape; opaque bags or any wax products. Make sure the label is visible.

2. Store the batteries in a cool, dry place. Incidents can occur when batteries (or the devices they power such as a cellphone or tablet) are exposed to inclement or excessively hot weather. Store them in a plastic container; avoid metal or cardboard.

3. Keep an eye out for damaged batteries. If you see a swollen or bulging battery, immediately put it in a non-flammable material such as sand or kitty litter in a cool, dry place. Do not dispose of it in the trash. Contact Call2Recycle, the manufacturer or retailer immediately for instructions, especially if the label says it is Lithium or Lithium-Ion.

4. Drop them off within six months. Store old batteries no longer than six months. Make sure they are bagged or taped before dropping them off for recycling.

You can drop off rechargeable batteries for free at a Call2Recycle public drop-off site anywhere in the U.S. The online locator can help you find a nearby site; its Recycle on the Way feature helps you add a recycling stop on your errand run. Retailers such as The Home Depot, Lowe’s and Staples also accept them for recycling.

For single-use batteries, like AA, AAA, 9-volt, etc., you can drop them off at select Call2Recycle participating locations, buy your own Call2Recycle recycling box for your home or office or contact your local community recycling center for other options.

All household batteries can be recycled. In particular, metals in rechargeable batteries can be repurposed into other products such as new batteries, stainless steel pans and golf clubs. By recycling, you can be assured that your used batteries will be kept out of the landfill.

For more information, visit www.Call2Recycle.org.