What are the best and the easiest ways to recycle batteries?

Expert Answers
cpyeditor12 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The way you dispose of batteries depends on the type of battery. According to Duracell, alkaline batteries can be disposed of with household waste. Due to the fact that batteries can explode if exposed to fire, throwing used batteries in a fire would not be acceptable. Although batteries contained mercury in the past, many manufacturers have eliminated it. You can check with a manufacturer online. It is important not to throw large numbers of batteries away at the same time since the batteries may not be completely used.

Other types of batteries such as rechargeable batteries, lithium, lithium ion and zinc air batteries should not be disposed of in the trash. These types should be recycled. This is due to the chemicals these types contain. A label on the battery should mark them as recyclable. They are commonly found in laptops, cell phones, power tools and cameras. There are recycle centers in most areas where you can bring the batteries for disposal. 

Large batteries, such as car batteries, contain lead. They should be brought to a local waste management or recycling center.

jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.