What should I do with my used alkaline (size AAA, AA, C or D) batteries? Can’t I just throw them in the garbage? These are questions I receive on a daily basis at Battery Solutions Inc. I will start by telling you alkaline batteries can absolutely be recycled and that there are certainly environmental benefits in doing so. Different types of batteries are made up of different components, but all batteries have three things in common: they are all non-biodegradable, contain heavy metals and contain electrolytes that can contaminate ground water. If you were to go to the websites of most alkaline battery manufacturers they would tell you it’s perfectly OK to dispose of batteries in the trash, but I beg to differ. Used battery waste is far worse for the environment than paper, plastic and glass, yet for some reason batteries are recycled with much less frequency. There are a couple reasons for this disparity and I will discuss those reasons as well as provide the answer to “How can I recycle my dead batteries?” The first reason why batteries are not recycled at greater rates is because of the costs associated with recycling them. At some point the word “recycle” became associated with “free” or even worth money, but unfortunately that’s not always the case. Unlike paper, plastic and glass, which are typically free to recycle, batteries are more complex and contain many different types of materials. In order to recycle alkaline batteries they must first be broken down into three separate materials: a zinc/manganese mixture, a paper/plastic mixture and steel. Once those three materials are separated from each other they can then be reused for anything from medicines to fertilizers to construction materials. Recycling batteries can also reduce carbon footprints by reusing materials that would otherwise need to be remined from the earth. The second reason batteries are not recycled as much as they should be is awareness. There are many state and local governments that don’t have the budget to recycle alkaline batteries so their answer is to just landfill them. These are the same people who are warning of the dangers of diminishing landfill space and trying to encourage recycling.
Battery Solutions' iRecycle Kit
If these governments can’t support a budget for battery recycling they need to at least direct their citizens by promoting companies like Battery Solutions Inc. Some states have even passed legislation to prohibit disposing of batteries in the trash yet gave little or no resources to the public as to how to recycle their old batteries. Finally, the answer to “How do I recycle my dead batteries?” For 20 years, Battery Solutions Inc. has strived to make the recycling of every type of battery — including rechargeable and lead acid batteries — both affordable and more importantly, easy. If you generate large quantities of battery waste you can call our toll free number, 1-800-852-8127, and a sales representative will help advise you on the best way to store, package and ship your batteries. We will also help to make sure you are in compliance with Universal Waste laws as well as proper packaging of shipments to comply with DOT regulations. If you are a small business or household we also have the answer for you. We offer our iRecycle Kit that comes in various sizes to suit your needs. You can put any type of dry-cell battery, including small electronic devices, into the kits. We’ve made our battery recycling kits all inclusive by combining the cost of the container, the cost of shipping the container to you and a return label to ship it back to us when it’s full, as well as recycling costs. Finally, we will provide you with a “certificate of recycling” upon request. These kits can be ordered right from our website, batteryrecycling.com. Batteries can be recycled, so let’s stop throwing them into landfills and start throwing them into our all-inclusive battery recycling kits. Justin Jungman is the Executive Account Manager at Battery Solutions, Inc., with offices in Michigan and Arizona.