How To Recycle Batteries The Right Way

AA Batteries Americans buy nearly 180 tons of batteries every year. But most don’t know how to recycle batteries.

Recycling batteries is actually easier than you think. Many local stores have their own recycle points.

And to make it even easier, you can recycle your batteries via the post.

You should also keep an eye out for hazardous waste collection events in your area. They’re more than happy to recycle them for you.

Why Do We Need To Recycle Batteries?

Although it’s legal to throw single-use batteries in the trash (unless you’re in California), there are still harmful chemicals in all batteries.

California bans batteries in bins

These chemicals have effects not only on or health, but the health of the planet, which is why it’s so essential for battery recycling.

The other thing is you can find recyclable materials, including zinc manganese inside batteries. With our trash problem getting worse and natural resources becoming scares, we need to recycle as many materials as possible.

You might be surprised to know that the batteries in your regular household remote control can be used for more than you think.

recycled batteries make a golf clubThe batteries we recycle aren’t always re-purposed to make new batteries.

The materials found in batteries can be used to create new golf clubs, silverware, and much more.

Battery recycling is for more than just reusing the zinc manganese and steel. It also plays a massive part in the reduction of waste ending up in landfill sites.

I mentioned earlier that 180 tons of batteries are brought every year, and if we recycle, we can reduce the impact of waste build-up.

All you have to do is go to the store and recycle them!

Chucking single-use alkaline batteries in the trash might seem like a harmless process, but that’s not always the case. Used batteries can actually short circuit due to the leftover power, which is not something you want to happen in your trash bag.

For the above reasons I encourage you to recycle any batteries you have, your local store will more than likely recycle batteries for you.

Does Recycling Your Batteries Make A Difference?

You might not think that recycling matters, and quite often, it’s the smallest things that make the most significant difference. The thing is, natural resources are starting to run low. If we recycle the batteries, we’re given the opportunity to save more materials from being dug up.

But, this isn’t the only benefit of recycling a battery. It’s enabled companies like energizer create new technology.

Great example: since its inception in 1994, Call2Recycle has recycled over 100 million pounds of used rechargeable batteries. This national mindset to recycle has enabled EnergizerĀ® to pioneer technology that reuses battery material to create new batteries.

So, although you might think/see it working, doesn’t mean it isn’t

How Do You Properly Dispose Of Batteries?

Every style of battery is made differently and contains different recyclable materials. Which means you need to recycle them differently.

In this section, I’m going to explain how each battery should be disposed of and what materials get recycled.

Let’s start with:

Car Battery

Car BatteryScrapyards and garages will take car batteries. The battery gets broken apart by a hammer mill.

Once the battery has been split into little pieces, they put them into a water vat.

All the heavy materials, such as lead, fall to the bottom and the plastic floats.

Once all the materials are separated, each item is sent to its area of recycling.

Materials Recovered

  • Plastic
  • Lead
  • Sulfuric acid


Alkaline batteryThese are your standard household batteries, and whatever style of alkaline battery (AAA, AA, C, etc.) you have, they can all be recycled.

A room temperature machine separates the materials.

Once separated, the materials are sent to their respective recycling units.

Material Recovered

  • Zinc
  • Manganese
  • Steel
  • Paper
  • Plastic
  • Brass


Lithium-Ion batteryLithium-Ion batteries are usually found in laptops and other electrical equipment.

They get split down a room temperature and oxygen-free room.

The machine then separates the materials where they will be put back on the market.

Materials Recovered

  • Cobalt and Lithium
  • Stainless steel
  • Copper
  • Aluminum
  • Plastic


Nickel-Cadmium batteryThe plastic from these batteries is usually recovered before the recycling process starts.

The metals are separated using a high temp metal reclamation process.

This means the metal is heated to the melting point, which is when they separate them.

Materials Recovered

  • Nickel
  • Iron
  • Manganese
  • Chromium
  • Zinc
  • Cadmium

Lithium Batteries

Lithium BatteriesThey are deconstructed using a shredder or hammer mill.

All the contents then get submerged in caustic water, which helps to split the ferrous metals from the non-ferrous metals.

They then collect all the materials ready for the next product.

Materials Recovered

  • Lithium
  • Steel
  • Carbon
  • Copper
  • Aluminum

Mercury Batteries

Mercury BatteriesThe materials get recovered by using a controlled temperature process.

It’s important to note that mercury batteries are becoming less common.

This comes down to “The Battery Act,” which prohibits the sale of certain mercury batteries.

Materials Recovered

  • Steel

There are a lot more batteries out there, but I don’t want to bore you to death. If you’d like to check out the full list, then have a look at this.


To finish up, let’s have a quick recap. Tons and tons of batteries are used each year, and they all house dangerous chemicals. Which is why we should recycle them instead of sending them to a landfill.

You might not think recycling your batteries is helping, but I promise it does!

If you have any questions or new ideas you’d like to share, then please comment below. If you liked my tips on how to recycle batteries, then please share the post.

We need to accept that power is in our hands, and we need to make a difference. There are so many recyclable items out there you just need to find them.

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