City Cast

How to Dispose of Old Batteries

Scott Dickensheets
Scott Dickensheets
Posted on October 11
Photo of a coffee cup filled with old batteries.

I’ve been saving old batteries, assuming I can’t throw them in the trash. How true is that? (Scott Dickensheets/City Cast Las Vegas)

Household batteries are so commonplace that they can seem harmless, but I’ve always had a vague notion that it’s illegal to toss them in the trash. So I have saved them, as above, until I can figure out what to do with them. Now’s the time!

“Alkaline batteries, such as AA, AAA, and D batteries, are suitable to be discarded in your regular trash cart,” says a spokesperson for trash company Republic Services. Good to know! “However, recycling them is a better alternative if you are trying to be more sustainable.” Better to know!

In other words, don’t just throw them in the garbage. Alkaline batteries can leak chemicals that are harmful to the environment. Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries (like the one in your phone) can cause fires that are particularly difficult to extinguish.

However, none can be recycled in your curbside trash. What to do?

🔋 You can drop off your alkaline batteries for free at local Call2Recycle dropoff points. For a few dollars a pound, BatteriesPlus will recycle your alkalines, and for $4 a pound, your undamaged lithium-ions.

📫 If you prefer to recycle from home, you can order a mail-in container from Republic Services — for $96.

🚙 Turn car batteries in to an auto parts store.

💻 Old electronics containing lithium batteries can be recycled at Best Buy.

— Adrian González contributed to this segment.

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