In our increasingly mobile world, batteries serve quite a purpose. They power our cars, portable electronics and items we use every day. Batteries can even be made out of vegetables.
Batteries are identified by the product they're used for ("car battery," "cell phone battery," etc.) or its size ( "9V", "button cell"). But for scientific purposes, batteries' names are based on the metals they contain. Concerning disposal, the name can be helpful because it lets you know what elements are wrapped up in that cylindrical packaging.
Battery recycling is not a matter of possibility. It comes down to the efforts you're willing to take. Availability will also depend on where you live, as states like California have designated all batteries as hazardous waste and require that they be recycled or taken to a household hazardous waste (HHW) collection facility.
Before we outline the different types of batteries and what to do with them, consider these two points:
- Rechargeable batteries last considerably longer than single-use batteries, so using them means fewer batteries for disposal.
- All batteries have a finite life span, but there are steps you can take to prolong the life of your batteries.