In today’s world, everything runs on batteries. Inevitably, though, batteries run out of power and the age-old question comes up: What do you do with your spent batteries? In the past, they ended up in a junk drawer, an old coffee can in the garage or even in the trash.
But, batteries can be recycled with a few extra precautions. TerraCycle offers four tips to safely handle and recycle “dead” batteries:
Individually bag or tape the battery terminals. Just because a battery stops powering a device doesn’t mean it’s dead. The battery only seems dead because it no longer has the voltage needed to power the item. In fact, there is still voltage left; therefore, it requires a little TLC in the recycling process. By applying adhesive tape to the battery terminals or individually bagging each cell, you stop the chance of the remaining voltage in the battery making a connection and causing a safety hazard.
Store batteries in a cool, dry place. Batteries and inclement weather don’t mix. Always store used batteries in a plastic container like the EasyPak Battery Recycling Container from TerraCycle Regulated Waste that will keep them cool and dry. Batteries left exposed to extreme heat for long periods of time can deform, leak or even explode.
Used batteries don’t keep. All good things come to an end and generally don’t get any better with age. The same applies to used batteries. Professional recyclers suggest used batteries be recycled within one to six months of expiring. Beyond that, corrosion becomes a risk factor.
My battery has sprung a leak! Now what? In the case of damaged or leaking batteries, never mix them with their uncompromised counterparts. This can cause all the batteries to become contaminated and hazardous. Simply secure them in an individual bag appropriate for their size and weight, label it “leaking batteries” and store them in your recycling receptacle with the other spent batteries until you recycle the batch.
“Batteries are so common it’s easy to forget that they’re full of chemicals that could potentially be harmful to the environment if allowed to enter our landfills,” said Gary Casola, technical sales specialist at TerraCycle Regulated Waste, in a statement. “With our EasyPak Cannister, we’ve taken the work out of the battery recycling process. Our cannister is a U.N.-certified insulated container, which includes tape for the terminals, as well as a pre-paid shipping label used to return the cannister when its full.”