How to Safely Dispose of, Recycle, and Reuse Dead Batteries

Batteries vary, from regular alkaline and carbon-zinc batteries to single-use or rechargeable lithium-ion batteries to small sealed lead-acid. They serve nearly endless purposes as well. However, like everything else artificial, they eventually turn into trash.

So, let’s have some trash talk; how do you safely dispose of, recycle, and reuse dead batteries? Just as there are battery variations, even how you dispose of them is different. Today we’ll show you how to safely dispose of, recycle, and reuse the two main categories of batteries—single-use and rechargeable.

Single-Use Batteries

Single-use batteries, also known as alkaline, primary cell, or non-rechargeable batteries, are the most common type today. They power household gadgets such as flashlights, toys, TV remotes, gaming consoles, and much more. Single-use batteries come in various sizes too, from AA and AAA to 9V and more. They have a short to average lifespan—as the name implies, you can only use them once.

Single-use batteries feature many chemicals, from the standard lithium-ion cells, zinc, and lead to mercury and nickel. These toxic chemicals can leach into the soil and reach the water supply if the disposal isn’t properly managed. Check out how to handle their proper disposal below:

How to Recycle Single-Use Batteries

To properly recycle single-use batteries, gather them and pack them up so that their active ends aren’t in contact to prevent damage. Pay extra caution to batteries that are leaking because, as noted, the contents are toxic. If a battery is leaking, clean it and store it separately.

Once the batteries are packed and ready, check in with your waste pick-up service or local municipality to see if they offer a recycling service and what they can and cannot pick up. If single-use batteries aren’t accepted, you’ll have to take them to a paid recycling center. Fortunately, these centers often charge only a small fee, so the endeavor shouldn’t set you back much.

How to Dispose of Single-Use Batteries

If recycling isn’t an open option, you may have to dispose of the single-use batteries yourself. But as noted, you can’t trash them because they’ll end up in landfill. Instead, find or contact your regional waste management authority and drop them off. They often send these batteries to sorters and processors where they are recycled into stainless steel sheets, new batteries, and various other products.

Rechargeable Batteries

A pile of dead batteries for disposal

Rechargeable batteries are slowly taking over and replacing single-use batteries. As of writing, for every five dry-cell batteries bought, one is rechargeable. Their popularity is due to their cost-effectiveness—they can be recharged and reused for a long time. You’ll find them in nearly every portable device nowadays, from smartphones to cameras, laptops, and even cars.

Rechargeable batteries typically contain chemicals like lithium-ion, nickel cadmium, and nickel metal. While lithium isn’t as toxic as the other chemicals, it can still have a detrimental impact on the environment in large quantities. That is why it’s critical to ensure that your Li-ion rechargeable batteries are disposed of just as well as those that contain other far more dangerous chemicals.

How to Recycle Rechargeable Batteries

Recycling rechargeable batteries is easier than single-use ones since most recycling centers will readily accept them. They do so because they can be recycled into new products and put back on the market. For instance, when Li-ion batteries are recycled, they result in lithium metal, which can be either resold or used to manufacture sulfur dioxide batteries, and lithium carbonate, a fine white powder that can be reused into ingot metal or foil for other batteries.

Besides your waste hauler and local municipality, you can also check out the following for rechargeable battery recycling:

  • Home improvement stores
  • Office supply stores
  • Large retailers like Home Depot, Lowes, and Walmart

How to Dispose of Dead Rechargeable Batteries

Dead rechargeable batteries cannot be trashed. It’s illegal to do so in some states. Therefore, disposing of them easily isn’t an option. The best step is to collect them until you’re ready to drop them off at a recycling center.

Reusing Dead Rechargeable Batteries

Here are some creative DIY projects that you could try to reuse your recently dead rechargeable batteries, as they require only a little juice.

DIY Power Bank From Old Laptop Batteries

Laptops are modern-day offices. We take them wherever we go, and they in turn allow most of us to work from wherever we want. However, as with any digital device, they are subject to wear and tear—sadly, the battery always seems to wear out first. On the bright side, you’ll find that with most old laptop batteries, only two cells are faulty, which offers an opportunity to DIY it into something useful. Check out this Instructables guide to learn how to turn an old laptop battery into a DIY power bank. In addition to the battery, here is more on what you can salvage for your broken laptop.

To save mother nature, you can try out these other lifesaver power bank ideas using the readily available materials in your junk box.

Make CLAP Control Car

We’ve all seen a remote-controlled toy car, but a clap-controlled one? That’s new, and the good news is that you can use old batteries to build yourself one. In addition to a battery (get from an old power bank), you will need Arduino Uno, a battery holder, rubber wheels, a gear motor, a sound sensor, and an L298D motor drive. Check out how this Hackster guide to make this futuristic toy.

Are you having insufficient power issues with one of the many cordless tools in your DIY stack? Grab those old NiCd batteries awaiting recycling, and squeeze them for extra power. Check this Instructables tutorial to learn how to do it.

Here are more DIY projects using old or dead batteries you can try.

Ensure proper storage: Dead batteries contain a small amount of residual power and can cause explosions or fire without proper handling. Ensure no contact between active ends when gathering them for recycling, reuse, or disposal.

Protect Mother Nature: Properly Recycle, Reuse or Dispose of Dead Batteries

We are transitioning into the era of electrically powered devices using batteries. While it’s a much-welcomed change, it’ll result in even more dead or partially used battery waste. Protect Mother Nature from this imminent waste problem by properly disposing of, recycling, or reusing dead batteries.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *