We use batteries in umpteen gadgets daily and they power up almost every other device we use. A battery is a gizmo that converts chemical energy into electrical energy and supplies power to gadgets. Although really handy, they can contaminate our environment when we dispose them after use. They contain many harmful chemicals and hazardous metals that leech into our surroundings.
Almost 3 billion dry cell batteries are used in America and only 3 percent of them are recycled. Hence, we should dispose batteries with care and in a safe way. Trashing them in the bin or even burning can be quite risky.
Classify your batteries
Before you send off your batteries to recycling centers remember that all of them are not the same. They have different shapes, sizes and do not contain the same chemical substances. First, classify them by their size which can be D, AA, or AAA and sort them by different chemicals like lithium, zinc air, or silver oxide. There is a different recycling process for each chemical. All the used batteries should be stored in sealed containers until they are discarded. If you leave them out in your drawer or cupboard then hazardous substances might seep out of them. Also, recycling becomes much easier if batteries at zero charge are sorted by their chemical components. Some ecofriendly ways of chucking batteries after you use them are given below.
1. Collection centers
There are no pickups from your doorstep to collect batteries that you are going to dispose. You will have to make an effort yourself to chuck them in a safe way. Locate a recycling station in your vicinity. It is mostly situated in the local market. In EU there is a compulsory law for recycling and you are required to take your old chargers back to retailers. At many other locations across the globe, you can find recycling stations by entering your zip code on websites like eath911 or battery recycling. There are municipal organizations, sanitation companies and retailers who recycle these batteries. Also there are special collection days in cities for a couple of days in a year.
2. HHW facility
Many household hazardous waste (HHW) facilities have a drop off day when you can give away your old batteries. This drop off happens only twice a year so you will actually have to keep track of the date and keep collecting all used batteries at home. Also, you will have to abide by certain rules when you are dropping off batteries at these centers. There are separate guidelines for single use and rechargeable batteries. Also, there are some directions for packing and the delivery given by such HHW centers.
3. Rechargeable batteries
The recycling facilities for rechargeable batteries are also different. Call2Recycle is one such organization that collects rechargeable batteries. They also accept cell phone batteries. The collection sites for batteries are set up after consulting with local organizations and businesses. Many retailers have joined with Call2Recycle and here the batteries are melted and their individual metals are isolated to manufacture new batteries or steel. Rechargeable batteries are also amassed by Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC). You can also call the RBRC hotline to find the nearest drop off for rechargeable batteries. They are also collected by most Radio Shack stores.
4. Other type of batteries
Also, there are wet cell batteries that are fitted into automobiles like boats, cars, and bikes. A good place to recycle them are dealers of automotive batteries. Most of them are authorized as collection and recycling centers. A few names are AutoZone and Advanced auto parts recycle. A few other gizmos like hearing aids and watches have button batteries fitted in. Such batteries can also be recycled at their respective retailers for free. Enquire if your local scrap yards accept them.
5. Retailers and specialized companies
You can also take them to some consumer electronic chains. A few such chains are Circuit City, Office Depot, Best Buy, etc. You will definitely find recycling kiosks at these retailers either at the entrance or inside. All chains of Batteries Plus also accept disposable batteries for recycling. Also, there are a number of companies like Big Green Box and Battery Solutions recycle batteries. Many companies arrange pickup of these batteries from your door step and mailer collections are also quite common. In mailers cardboard boxes that keep batteries safe and shipped to consumers who fill them up with used batteries and send them back to the company. In fact, Battery Solutions pay outs 85 cents for every pound of batteries they receive.