Proper Disposal of Leaked Batteries: A Comprehensive Guide

Proper disposal of leaked batteries is crucial to prevent environmental pollution and potential health hazards. Alkaline and zinc-carbon batteries, which are commonly used in households, can be safely disposed of in regular household trash in most communities. However, button-cell or coin batteries, lithium single-use batteries, and rechargeable batteries should not be discarded in regular trash or municipal recycling bins due to their potential risks.

Identifying Battery Types and Disposal Methods

Button-Cell or Coin Batteries

  • Button-cell or coin batteries can be a potential swallowing hazard and should be stored out of reach of young children.
  • These batteries should be brought to specialized battery recyclers, participating retailers that provide battery takeback services, or local household hazardous waste collection programs.
  • Improper disposal of button-cell batteries can lead to environmental contamination and potential health issues if ingested.

Lithium Single-Use Batteries

  • Lithium single-use batteries should be checked for the word “lithium” marked on the battery.
  • These batteries should not be put in the trash or municipal recycling bins.
  • Instead, lithium single-use batteries should be brought to a recycling location near you, such as a battery retailer or a household hazardous waste collection program.

Rechargeable Batteries

  • Rechargeable batteries, including Nickel-Cadmium (Ni-Cd), Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH), and Lithium-Ion (Li-ion) batteries, should be looked for labels identifying the battery chemistry.
  • These batteries should not be put in the trash or municipal recycling bins.
  • Rechargeable batteries should be brought to a recycling location near you, such as a battery retailer or a household hazardous waste collection program.

Automotive Batteries

  • Lead-acid batteries used in vehicles should be returned to the battery retailer or a local solid or household hazardous waste collection program.
  • Medium and large-scale Li-ion batteries used in electric vehicles may not be able to be removed by the consumer and should be referred to the manufacturer’s instructions and heed warnings and safety instructions.

Preventing Battery Leakage and Corrosion

proper disposal of leaked batteries

To prevent battery leakage, it is recommended to:
1. Store batteries properly in a box or a cozy compartment, where each battery is isolated.
2. Avoid mixing different types or brands of batteries.
3. Remove batteries from devices with AC adapters when the adapter is plugged in.
4. Store batteries in dry, cool locations and away from direct sunlight and heat sources.

Handling Leaked or Corroded Batteries

In case of battery corrosion or leakage:
– Handle the batteries with care and avoid contact with the skin.
– Put the leaky batteries in a plastic bag and drop them off at a recycling facility.
– Batteries greater than nine volts should have clear tape over the battery terminals to prevent the battery from generating heat, leading to fires.

Recycling Corroded, Leaky Batteries

  • Corroded, leaky batteries can be recycled, but they require special attention and packaging due to the U.S. Department of Transportation requirements.
  • Defective and recalled batteries also require special handling and shipping requirements.

Conclusion

Proper disposal of leaked batteries involves identifying the type of battery, storing and handling them properly, and disposing of them at recycling facilities or designated collection points. It is important to prevent battery leakage and corrosion by storing batteries properly and avoiding mixing different types or brands.

References:
EPA Guide on Used Household Batteries
How to Clean and Dispose of Corroded Batteries
Cleaning Up a Battery Acid Spill
Reddit Discussion on Disposing Leaking Batteries