Battery recycling: how to dispose of batteries properly

Knowing how to dispose of batteries may seem confusing but we’re here to make it easy for you!

August 6, 2019

Battery recycling: how to dispose of batteries properly
Sustainability

Electronic waste recycling probably isn’t on your list of favourite weekend activities. However, knowing the basics when it comes to battery disposal and electronic recycling is an important part of good citizenship – and also very handy! You don’t want to be stuck with an old battery at home not knowing what to do with it or have a load of them cluttering up the house.

Here’s everything you need to know when it comes to household battery recycling and disposal.

If battery recycling seems like a hassle, you can opt for plug-in tech or gear that uses renewable energy, like solar-powered torches and wind-up radios. 

Why is battery recycling important?

We don’t have a different disposal mechanism for every item in the house, so why should we think about battery disposal at all? The thing about batteries is that they sometimes contain mercury, a highly poisonous chemical that if released can do serious harm to humans, animals and the local environment. It’s important to get rid of old batteries in a way that prevents that from happening.

How to dispose of batteries

The most important part of battery disposal is identifying what type of battery they are. This will determine the best course of action when it comes to getting rid of them.

  • If your battery doesn’t contain mercury, then it’s fine to put it with other waste.
  • If it does you contain mercury, you need to recycle it through a specialist service.

Older batteries are more likely to contain mercury than newer ones, but if you’re not sure don’t risk it – just recycle. Rechargeable batteries and car batteries are also potentially harmful so be sure to always recycle them regardless of when they were made.

How to recycle batteries

Now that you know it’s important to recycle old batteries let’s look at how you actually do it.

  1. Find a local recycling location that offers battery recycling.
  2. Drop your batteries to the centre. Usually, there’ll be a big tub full of batteries for you to add to.

Not sure how to find a recycling location for batteries? Some larger supermarkets and DIY shops have battery recycling points otherwise you may need to travel to a waste or recycling centre. Check your local authority website for details and directions.

Used batteries – important safety tips!

Before disposing of old batteries, make sure you follow these safety tips for handling them:

  • Batteries can be potentially harmful so always recycle them via a specialist service.
  • Check the packet for instructions on disposal. If in doubt, don’t put them in the bin.
  • Keep new and used batteries away from pets and small children.
  • Never put batteries in a fire or expose them to flames or heat as they could explode.

Those are the key things you need to know when it comes to battery recycling. 

  • Identify which type of battery you have – does it contain mercury?
  • Recycle, don’t throw away.
  • Be extra careful with car and rechargeable batteries.
  • Check local supermarkets and DIY stores for recycling points or visit your nearest recycling centre.