How to Recycle Rechargeable Batteries
Rechargeable batteries come in all shapes and sizes used across a wide variety of areas, from your car to your wireless phone. Many of the materials within these batteries, such as lead, plastic and metal, are recyclable. Rechargeable batteries can be recycled through mail-in, drop-off or take-back programs. In fact, many states prohibit throwing batteries in the trash.
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Frequent Rechargeable Battery Recycling Questions
Is it illegal to throw rechargeable batteries in the trash?
Some states have passed laws making it illegal to throw rechargeable batteries in the garbage, but not all. Call2Recycle’s recycling laws map offers a thorough run down of the laws that apply to each state.
It may seem complicated, but while the legality depends on geography, the option to recycle does not. To find your nearest drop-off location, jump to the recycling locator.
Why are rechargeable batteries regulated, unlike single-use?
Unlike single-use batteries, rechargeable batteries contain heavy metal elements that allow them to be recharged over and over. The heavy metals can be hazardous to the environment, unless they are properly recycled.
Recognizing the potential environmental consequences, the Environmental Protection Agency categorizes rechargeable batteries as household hazardous waste.
How many times can I recharge a rechargeable battery before it needs replaced?
The average rechargeable battery can be charged about 1,000 times before it needs to be replaced.
What tricks are there to make them last longer?
Follow the guidelines for charging provided by the manufacturer. Each product has specific battery charging instructions prior to initial use that will help the battery reach its maximum capacity.
Never return a fully-charged battery to the charger for an extra boost- it actually shortens the battery’s lifespan.
Do not leave your rechargeable battery in the charger after it’s done charging. Continuous charhing will shorten the batter’s lifespan.
Don’t leave your rechargeable batteries discharged or unused for extended periods of time. To extend battery life, charge them at least every 6-9 months.
Do charge your battery at room temperature (68°F to 72°F) to extend battery life.
Do I need to remove rechargeable batteries from other electronics before I recycle them?
Yes, it is generally good practice to remove rechargeable batteries from your electronics devices prior to recycling. This allows for proper recognition and recycling of any potentially hazardous materials that the rechargeable batteries may contain.
Cell phones happen to be a common exception as retailers and recyclers typically accept them as a whole item, battery included.
- “Drop & Shop” Retail Recycling Programs Provide Great “Environment” for Consumers
- Call2Recycle Posts Record Increase of Battery Recycling in 2010
- Your Room-By-Room Guide to Batteries
- The Ultimate Battery Guide
- The Battery Law You Should Know About
- Your Future Battery-Powered Life
- Thinking Beyond the Recycling Bin