Batteries are used in a lot of household products that we have come to rely on. It doesn’t matter if it’s a cell phone, laptop computer, a high blood pressure monitor or a toy for your child. They bring our favorite technologies to life. Americans have bought nearly three billion batteries annually, as reported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. When batteries reach their expiration, it’s always good to consider recycling. There are three different types of batteries that are often recycled. They include non-automotive lead-based batteries found in emergency lights, alarms, or specific industrial equipment. The second type can be found in your car or other types of transportation which are called lead-acid batteries. Additional batteries are the smaller ones that can be found in products you use on a daily basis, called dry cell batteries. The categories of a dry cell battery include rechargeable batteries, Zinc-Carbon, Alkaline and Button cell.
The most important reasons to recycle batteries is because of their risks to the environment and our health. If not disposed of properly, the heavy metals inside a battery can ultimately harm one’s health. Nearly two thirds of homes in the United States waste material in landfills or incinerated areas. Batteries sitting in landfills can seep harmful chemicals and metals into the soil, lakes, groundwater and even possibly streams. Those found in incinerated locations often can introduce foul metals to the air, harming the environment. Because of these dangers, the United States Environmental Protection Agency created the Battery Act in 1996 promoting proper disposal and recycling of all batteries. This act prompted the industry to stop putting mercury inside batteries.
Certain states have specific laws and regulations regarding recycling batteries and their disposal. Research shows nearly 30 states do not allow batteries filled with lead to be thrown in the trash. Several other states , believe it or not, have laws on how you are allowed to dispose of cell phones or even rechargeable batteries. On a higher level, there are mandates in a federal law regarding how nickel-cadmium or lead batteries can be recycled. If you’re still lost on what to do with your expired batteries, you can seek out battery recycling programs that can guide you in the right direction. Bottom line it’s always a good idea to gather up all of your expired batteries and have an action plan on how to dispose of them. By doing this, you make your household safe, protect your families health, or more importantly, respect the environment. Batteries will always be a part of our households as we continue to buy new products that use them.
Inside the United States, lead acid car batteries of at least 95% are recycled to retailers who offer new batteries to the public. You also can find that automotive stores or area waste agencies will take in non-automotive lead batteries as well.