How to Recycle Single-Use Batteries
It’s easy to find a location to recycle single-use batteries using our recycling locator found at the end of this post.
Single-use batteries contain a number of materials that are recyclable. You can recycle them by dropping them off at a local facility or by participating in the many mail-in or take-back programs that are available.
Recycling batteries through mail in programs works particularly well for office buildings. We have several buckets in our office which, once full, we mail to the location to get recycled. If you have questions about recycling single-use batteries continue reading below.
Find a drop-off location for single-use batteries near you using the Recycling Locator.
Frequent Single-Use Battery Recycling Questions
Is it against the law to throw away single-use batteries?
At this point in time, the state of California is the only state in which it is illegal to throw any type of battery (including single-use) in the trash. However, just because it may not be illegal in your state, batteries should still be disposed of in a responsible manner.
Many states have a law regarding the proper disposal of batteries. If you’re curious about your state take a look at the Recycling Laws Map from Call2Recycle.
How do I dispose of single-use batteries?
Outside of California, it is legal to throw single-use alkaline batteries in your regular trash however we strongly encourage you to recycle them instead. Many cities and counties will collect single-use batteries during their household hazardous waste collection events. Visit your city and county website to find out when the next event will take place.
Some cities have dedicated household hazardous waste (HHW) locations that accept materials all year so you may be able to take them there as well. If you have a large quantity of batteries or don’t have a location near you that will accept batteries you can use one of the many mail-in programs that allow you to collect all types of batteries and then mail them in for recycling.
Is recycling single-use batteries cost effective?
There has been debate about recycling single-use batteries and whether or not it’s actually cost effective. Each individual battery contains a small amount of reusable material, including zinc, manganese, and steel.
Technology has advanced to the point now however that single-use batteries can be recycled in a cost effective manner.
Why should we recycle rechargeable batteries but not single-use batteries?
We should recycle all batteries. But if you talk to your local solid waste department, you may be instructed to put alkaline batteries in with your regular trash. This is partly due to the Mercury-Containing and Rechargeable Battery Management Act passed in 1996 that phased out the use of mercury in alkaline batteries, making them less of an issue when disposed in landfills. But this doesn’t mean alkaline batteries are not recyclable.
Having trouble finding a local recycler? Check out the Big Green Box mail-in option!
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