Welcome back! As we continue to talk about lightening up this month, let’s consider the best way to dispose of old batteries.
Most of us use batteries. On any given day, you might be replacing a battery in a:
- Hearing aid
- Car key
- Medical device
- Handheld game
- Smoke detector
- Wireless remote control
These are just a few examples.
This topic of battery disposal is surprisingly complex. Many of us grew up pitching batteries into the trashcan. While it is true that “regular” (i.e., alkaline, zinc carbon, single-use batteries) can go in household trash, this is not ideal. Furthermore, some batteries (e.g., rechargeable batteries, lithium batteries, and button cell batteries) may contain metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium, nickel, and silver, all of which can pose a threat to human health and the environment.
Additionally, the EPA states that “some batteries may also contain materials such as cobalt, lithium and graphite that are considered critical minerals by the United States Geological Survey. Critical minerals are raw materials that are economically and strategically important to the United States and have a high supply risk potential and for which there are no easy substitutes. Consequently, every effort should be made to recycle and recover these materials to ensure they will be available for generations to come.”
Some states (including CT) have enacted battery recycling laws. If you aren’t sure what the situation is in your state, click here to find out.
Regardless of where you live, it is a good idea to establish a system for managing old batteries. Such a system should include two steps:
- Designating a container into which you pitch all old batteries (e.g., a coffee can, box, zip top bag, etc.)
- Periodically dropping batteries off at a battery recycling location.
In southwestern CT, batteries can be dropped off at your local transfer station. Check with your local municipality to see if there is a similar drop-off location in your area.
Alternatively, you can visit BatteriesPlus, who collect and recycle batteries, to see if there is a store near you.
* * *
Recycling batteries is one way to show love for our beautiful planet.
Do you recycle batteries? Where do you drop them off?