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How to Dispose of Batteries


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From cell phones and laptops to power tools and children’s toys, batteries are used to power all types of portable devices. Eventually they wear out, and it’s important to know how to dispose of batteries properly, whether they’re rechargeable AA batteries or disposable akaline batteries. This Home Depot guide has information on proper disposal, plus gives tips about where to recycle batteries.

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Single-Use vs. Rechargeable Batteries

Someone removing batteries from a remote device.

Once a battery stops powering or holding a charge, it’s time to replace it. Batteries come in two basic types: rechargeable and single-use or disposable ones. Car batteries, rechargeable 9-volt batteries and even tiny cell watch batteries can all have toxic chemicals and heavy metals. It’s important to know where and how to dispose of lithium batteries and others properly.

Safety Tip: “Dead” batteries are not completely dead and must be stored and thrown away correctly to prevent fires.

How to Dispose of Rechargeable Batteries

Someone removing battery from cell phone.

Rechargeable batteries can be charged hundreds of times before they have to be replaced. Laptops, tablets, digital cameras, cell phones and cordless power tools all use rechargeable batteries. These batteries are usually lithium-ion, nickel-cadmium, nickel-metal hydride, nickel-zinc or small sealed lead batteries. Rechargeable batteries should be recycled. Look for the battery recycling seals on rechargeable batteries.

Tip: Remove batteries from broken cell phones and laptops before you give, throw away or recycle the device.

How to Dispose of Alkaline Batteries

Someone tossing used batteries into a trashbag.

Alkaline batteries are the common household types found in remotes, clocks, flashlights, smoke detectors and other wireless devices. They are usually non-hazardous and can simply be tossed into a regular trash can, except in California. However, since they still have power in them, it’s best to follow a few precautions before you throw them out:

  • Collect used batteries in a container that won’t cause a spark such as a cardboard box or plastic tub.
  • Prevent any fire risk by taping 9-volt terminals before tossing.

Tip: When you buy your new batteries, remember to recycle the packaging.

Where to Recycle Batteries

Batteries filling a recycling bin.

Rechargeable batteries must be recycled, but you should try and recycle all batteries. Some batteries like NiCad ones have toxic metals such as cadmium and lead. Recycling makes sure the components of all batteries are handled properly and don’t end up in streams and landfills. Here are some options for recycling:

  • Your neighborhood The Home Depot Store has partnered with Call2Recycle, a non-profit battery recycling program. You can recycle rechargeable batteries for free by placing them in Call2Recycle bins at the store. Any rechargeable battery, including lithium batteries or a cellphone battery that weighs up to 11 pounds and is under 300 watt hours, is accepted.
  • Call your local solid waste district to find out if your community has a collection program or upcoming event.
  • Some battery manufacturers and recycling facilities have mail-in programs. Before mailing your batteries, be sure to follow postal shipping precautions.
  • Check with your local auto dealer or battery retail location about recycling lead acid or car batteries.

Home Depot Recycles Your Batteries

Description Feature/Benefits Maintenance/Care
Coppertop Alkaline AA Battery (18-Pack) Most commonly used battery. Used in everything from cordless phones to children’s toys. Works well with devices that require high current draw but are not in constant use. Yes, Home Depot recycles Alkaline AA batteries.
MAX AAA Batteries (30 Pack), Triple A Alkaline Batteries Second most commonly used battery. Used in everything from TV remote controls to bathroom scales. Works well in small devices that don’t require large amounts of energy. Yes, Home Depot recycles Alkaline AAA batteries.
AAAA Batteries (2 Pack), 1.5V Miniature Alkaline Quadruple A Batteries Not commonly used battery. Used in LED penlights, laser pointers, hearing aid remote controls and glucose meters. Thin batteries with high voltage that preserve power over long periods of time. Yes, Home Depot recycles Alkaline AAAA batteries.
Coppertop C Battery (4-Pack) Used in automatic hand sanitizer dispensers and battery-powered flush sensors. Works well with heavy duty applications where batteries require frequent use. Yes, Home Depot recycles C batteries.
MAX D Batteries (8 Pack), D Cell Alkaline Batteries Used in large flashlights, stereos and hands-free soap or paper towel dispensers. Works well in commercial, heavy use devices. Yes, Home Depot recycles D batteries.
9-Volt Coppertop Alkaline Batteries (4-Pack) Used in infrared thermometers, battery-powered temperature alarms and electronic portion scales. High-powered and works well in extreme temperatures. Yes, Home Depot recycles 9V batteries.
123 Lithium Batteries (12 Pack), 3V Photo Batteries Used in wireless security, home automation, smoke detectors and illumination equipment. High power packed in a small size. It has twice the voltage of a AA battery. Yes, Home Depot recycles 123 Lithium batteries.
CR2032 Lithium Coin Cell Batteries (10-Pack) “Button batteries” are used for watches, calculators, toys and different medical devices. Provides long-lasting and reliable power and has a very high weight-to-power ratio. Yes, Home Depot recycles CR2032 Lithium batteries.
12-Volt 100 Ah Rechargeable Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) Battery Commonly known as a “car battery,” but is also used in industrial equipment. Although it only has 12 volts, when working in tandem with an alternator, a 12 volt battery can power a vehicle. Yes, Home Depot recycles 12 Volt batteries.

Battery Disposal In California

A person holding a handful of batteries

In California, batteries are categorized as harzadous waste when discarded because of the metals and toxic materials they contain. You can recycle your batteries in California at Cal Recycle or at your local Home Depot.

Knowing how to properly dispose of used batteries is good for the environment. Shop online at The Home Depot for all your battery needs. The Home Depot delivers online orders when and where you need them.