Batteries contain hazardous materials such as mercury, which if disposed at a landfill can leach out into the soil and pose health risks and environmental damage
By disposing your batteries in a safe, eco-friendly way, you can reduce this risk of harmful waste.
Dry cell vs. wet cell
Before you can reduce, reuse and recycle, it’s helpful to know the difference between these two battery types
. Inside every battery is an electrolyte component. In the case of dry cell batteries, the electrolyte is a paste, and these batteries include alkaline, carbon zinc (9-volt, D, C, AA, AAA), mercuric-oxide (button, cylindrical and rectangular), silver-oxide, zinc-air (button) and lithium (9-volt, C, AA, coin, button and rechargeable).
Alternatively, wet cell batteries have a liquid electrolyte. These types of batteries are used for cars, boats and motorcycles and to power emergency lighting, alarm systems and industrial equipment.
Properly handling batteries
might seem complicated since there is a wide range of types, but it’s easier than you think. For non-hazardous, single-use alkaline batteries (most dry cells except Ni-Cd), simply throw them in the garbage. A this time, non-rechargeable batteries don’t have a recycler. However, by purchasing Duracell brand batteries, at least you have some peace of mind, because this company voluntarily eliminated mercury from its products in 1993 and compose the batteries from common metals
Now, if you have large amounts of alkaline batteries, disposal can create safety risks since the batteries’ residual energy is grouped together. In this case, you can discuss proper disposal with your permitted sanitary landfill operator
When it comes to rechargeable batteries that are hazardous and can be used multiple times, take them to a recycling drop-off location
. Lastly, for hazardous batteries that you can only use once (including wet cells and Ni-Cd), drop them off at a local household hazardous waste program.
Over time, batteries begin to corrode and can leak toxic materials from their outer shell, so it’s not wise to reuse them in artwork or for other creative projects. However, by investing in rechargeable batteries, you reduce the amount of waste you create, and this type of battery can eventually be recycled after use.