People rely on batteries to power everything from their remote control to their toothbrush. But it isn’t always clear what to do with those batteries when they die. Consumer Reports offers a handy guide to help you do right by the environment and the law.
Despite the fact that batteries power almost everything in our lives, it’s not always clear what to do with them when their juice is all used up.
“Ideally you shouldn’t toss them into the garbage,” said James Dickerson, Consumer Reports Chief Science Officer.
In fact, in some places, it’s illegal to throw batteries in the trash! So, whether it’s your standard alkaline AA battery, a rechargeable cell phone battery, or the battery from your car, you should treat it with care by using safe storage and disposal methods.
Why? Most batteries contain toxic ingredients like cadmium, lead, lithium or sulfuric acid.
Dickerson said, “Batteries can leak, get into the ecosystem and into the groundwater. So you really are concerned about that.”
And while old batteries may not generate enough energy to power a device, but they could still spark a fire if they’re not handled carefully. Store them in a secure container that keeps them lined up side-by-side, so the contact points can’t touch each other or brush up against anything that’s metallic or conductive. Or —
“– put a little piece of tape on both the positive and negative ends. That makes sure that you don’t end up having short circuits or any other type of current coming from the batteries,” suggests Dickerson.
An even better option…
“Keep the container that you received the batteries initially in. And put them back in,” Dickerson said.
Many businesses have battery recycling programs and stores like Best Buy, Lowe’s, and Staples will take certain kinds of batteries as well.