How can I help, and where do I start?
First, you need to find out where you can drop off the collected batteries for recycling. Some e-waste recyclers may not accept one-time alkaline batteries for free. However, there are usually city or county sponsored collection centers or events that accept household hazardous waste including disposable batteries for free. For example, residents of Orange County, California, may drop off batteries for free at one of the four collection centers, and residents of the listed cities in Dallas County, Texas, may go to their collection center. Google "Hazardous Waste Collection Center near me" or use Earth911.com to find the closest location near you. Also, refer to the How You Can Help page.
Where can I get battery collection buckets/boxes?
You can ask your local collection center whether they may have battery collection buckets to give to you. If there are no "official" battery collection buckets/boxes from your local collection center, here is a more eco-friendly DIY version that you can refer to to make your own containers. Remember to print out the 1MB logos and display them on the collection boxes/bags.
There are also other ideas contributed by some Teens Against E-waste (TAE) branches as follows:
- using brown bags such as this one to distribute to homerooms during a school event (Carmel Valley TAE Branch)
- using a protective bag such as this one to collect batteries from door to door in the neighborhood (Silicon Valley INTL TAE Branch)
My city told me to just throw batteries in the trash. Should I?
Today, alkaline batteries no longer contain mercury, so some local governments no longer mandate recycling of it. However, just as you recycle papers and water bottles without a law mandate, you should also recycle used batteries.
There are more reasons to recycle batteries than recycling papers and water bottles. Americans throw away 3 billion batteries each year, making up 20% of all household hazardous materials in America’s landfills. Click here to learn more about how batteries pollute our environment and how they can be recycled. In brief, they contain corrosive materials and heavy metals that can contaminate the environment. They also contain valuable recyclable resources including non-renewable metals such as lead, nickel, zinc, silver and manganese. Actually, Some states (e.g. California and New York) have made it illegal to throw any type of battery (including one-time batteries) in the trash or a residential recycling bin.
How to safely collect, handle, store, and ship used household batteries?
Please follow all battery management guidelines from your governmental agencies (e.g. the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation for the U.S.) AND local collection/recycling centers. For your reference, Call2Recycle (the largest, most reliable battery recycling program in the U.S.) also provides safety information and tips on their website regarding safely handling batteries. Please check out https://www.call2recycle.org/safety.