Bag or drop off those household batteries

It is possibly the easiest item to just mindlessly toss into the garbage can because as you are discarding them your mind is usually focused on the task of replacing them at nearly the same moment.

But they are just as easy to recycle, thus cutting down on the chance of polluting lakes and streams, and exposing the environment and water to lead and acid.

Household batteries contain all sorts of heavy metals – cadmium, lead mercury and nickel – which are a detriment to the environment when they turn up in landfills.

It has been estimated that more than 2 billion batteries end up in landfills every year in the United States. When you consider that Americans buy billions of dry-cell batteries every year to power radios, toys, cell phones, watches, laptop computers, and portable power tools, it is apparent we are nearly overrun by batteries.

In addition to keeping harmful elements out of the land and air by recycling batteries, it can also result in saving resources by recovering the plastics and metals that can be used to make new batteries.

Alkaline batteries, the everyday household batteries used in flashlights, remote controls, and other appliances are prime candidates for consistent recycling efforts, as many cities and counties have recycling programs and several reclamation companies now process these batteries.

It is most tempting to just pitch those small, round “button-cell” type batteries found in items such as watches and hearing aids – but they contain mercury, silver, cadmium, lithium, or other heavy metals as their main component. Button cells are increasingly targeted for recycling because of the value of recoverable materials, their small size, and their easy handling relative to other battery types.

Many states have battery-recycling laws in place, but a habit of recycling your household batteries can aid the environment, regardless of any mandated regulations. In other words, you don’t need the government to explain how easy it is to recycle batteries.

Check to see if your city or county has drop-off locations for old batteries. Many cities allow battery recycling by simply placing the old batteries in bags and putting the bag on the ground near your regular recycling bin.

In many states, the larger lead-acid batteries from autos, boats, and sump pumps can be taken to any store that sells these batteries. The stores will take these batteries for free or a small processing charge. Then the batteries are totally recycled, including lead plates, battery acid, and the plastic cases.


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