How to Dispose of Batteries at Home

Stop and think before you throw those old electronics, batteries and lightbulbs in the trash.

Most electronic waste and batteries contain toxic heavy metals that can seep into soil and water. Recycling these products not only keeps heavy metals out of the soil and water, but also helps reuse materials that require energy to mine and manufacture.

To safely dispose of batteries with lithium or batteries of greater than 9 volts, put clear packing, masking or electrical tape on the batteries’ terminals or sandwich the batteries between two layers of tape (e.g. flat button cells). These batteries should be placed in a container separate from other batteries that don’t require being taped.

Store your dead batteries away from children and pets. Many types of batteries contain hazardous materials, such as mercury, lead, or acid. While you are waiting to dispose of your batteries, keep them in a place where they will not be accessible to children or pets who might be harmed by playing with them or swallowing them.

If you do suspect that a child or pet has swallowed a battery, contact emergency services immediately.
Keep your batteries in a cool, dry place. If your batteries become corroded or overheated, they could leak or rupture. It is also important to avoid storing your batteries near any flammable materials, as this could present a fire hazard.

Sometimes seemingly dead batteries still carry a bit of a charge. If the positive and negative terminals of old batteries touch, it can create an electric current, which can lead to a fire. This risk can be minimized by putting a little tape over the terminals of your old batteries until you are ready to dispose of them.

Fire can also result from the terminals of batteries coming into contact with conductive materials

Store used batteries in a cardboard or plastic container. Storing your batteries in a non-conductive container will reduce the risk of fire, leakage, or rupture.

If you still have the original packaging for your batteries, this is a relatively safe way to store old batteries for disposal.

Consider individually bagging especially hazardous batteries, like 9 volt alkaline batteries, button batteries, lead acid batteries, or lithium batteries.

Do not store different types of batteries together. Mixing batteries with different chemistries may result in leakage and hazardous chemical reactions. If you have multiple types of batteries to dispose of, bag them separately.