It’s best to recycle alkaline batteries, such as AA and AAA, but your options are often limited. You can throw them in a Ziploc bag if they can’t be recycled.
We constantly use appliances, home appliances, toys and more that require batteries, but especially single-use batteries like AA and AAA. But disposable batteries will eventually stop working and have to be replaced.
Many batteries are labeled with a recycling symbol and the trash can has an X or has other instructions that can be confusing for people who want to dispose of them properly. Several VERIFY readers wondered about how to dispose of AA and AAA batteries, one person saying they had heard that throwing them in the trash was an option.
Can I throw most single-use alkaline batteries in the trash?
Yes, you can throw most single-use alkaline batteries in the trash — unless you’re in California, which requires all batteries to be taken to a dedicated waste or recycling facility.
WHAT WE FIND
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says there are three types of single-use batteries: alkaline or zinc-carbon, coin-shaped, and lithium. Popular batteries like AA and AAA can be either alkaline or lithium, but alkaline versions are much more common. Lithium versions are often labeled as such and are often more expensive than their alkaline versions.
The EPA says single-use alkaline and zinc-carbon batteries can be safely disposed of in your household trash “in most communities.” PinPlus And Warehouse at home also says that you can dispose of alkaline batteries like most AA, AAA and D batteries with your normal household waste.
Congress passed legislation in 1996 phasing out the use of mercury in alkaline batteries, making them less hazardous to dispose of in landfills. Fairfax County Fire Police Office, Virginiaspeak.
However, alkaline batteries can still short circuit, overheat, or spark when discarded, creating a fire hazard. City of San José, California, Department of Environmental Services speak. The Fairfax County Fire Sheriff’s Office says you should take one of the following precautions when disposing of batteries to reduce the risk of fire:
- Stick a piece of electrical tape on both ends (+/-) of the battery
- Dispose of batteries separately in sealed plastic bags
- Discard the battery in its original packaging, seal it with tape
There is only one state that prohibits throwing alkaline batteries in the trash: California. The state Department of Recycling and Resource Recovery, commonly known as CalRecycling, says all batteries are considered hazardous waste in California when they are discarded. Therefore, the state strictly prohibits throwing any type of battery in the trash, including disposable AA and AAA batteries.
“Batteries are considered hazardous because of the metal and/or other toxic or corrosive materials they contain,” says CalRecycle. “Batteries have the potential to be a valuable source of recyclable metals.”
In other places where alkaline batteries may be disposed of, the EPA still recommends that you “submit your used alkaline and zinc carbon batteries to battery recyclers or check with your local solid waste agency or your state.” The EPA says batteries contain recyclable metals, some of which can be scarce.
However, you may have several options for recycling single-use alkaline batteries depending on where you live. Some places that accept rechargeable batteries for recycling do not accept single-use alkaline batteries or only accept them for a fee, Call2Recyclea nationwide consumer battery recycling and management program.
“Unlike the rechargeable battery program sponsored by battery and battery-powered product manufacturers, there is currently no national regulatory solution that allows for free recycling of single-use batteries. except in Vermont,” said Call2Recycle. “This means that household hazardous waste (HHW) and city programs that offer alkaline battery recycling programs may charge a small fee.”
You can find places that allow you to recycle your disposable alkaline batteries using Call2Recycle’s drop-off locator. You can also check with your local waste management programs to see if they have any single-use alkaline battery drop-off locations.
However, just because the battery is AA or AAA, it doesn’t mean you can just throw it away blindly. The EPA says you shouldn’t put the lithium versions of these batteries in your city’s trash or recycling bin. Instead, these batteries should be taken to a collection site for recycling. You should also not dispose of AA or AAA rechargeable batteries in the trash.
The San Jose Department of Environmental Services says rechargeable lithium-ion batteries can explode or catch fire if punctured or crushed, which can happen at non-specialized general waste or recycling facilities. the battery.
In fact, you shouldn’t throw away any batteries except single-use alkaline batteries, meaning you shouldn’t throw away rechargeable batteries, car batteries or most coin-cell batteries, the EPA said. Most batteries contain hazardous chemicals that can pose a threat to human health or the environment if handled improperly. You can locate these batteries for recycling using Call2Recycle’s locator or using search on Earth911recommended by the EPA.
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