In states other than California, it is legal to dispose of single-use alkaline and lithium batteries in the trash, as they do not contain heavy metals. However, it is advisable from an environmental point of view to recycle them. In addition, automotive and rechargeable batteries (such as lead acid batteries, Li-Ion, Ni-MH, Ni-ZN, Ni-Cd) batteries should be recycled.
Many cities have events or locations at which they collect hazardous waste (see the link for New York City below). You can find out more about these events by visiting the website of your town, county, or city. In addition, you may be able to mail hazardous waste materials such as batteries to a collection site that will recycle them. Single-use batteries contain materials such as steel and zinc that can be recycled. When you bring in non-alkaline batteries to be recycled, place clear tape (not opaque tape) over the terminals to prevent the risk of fire. Place each battery in a bag. You do not need to bag or tape alkaline batteries.