We all use Batteries on a daily basis. Whether it’s a car battery, a cell phone battery or the batteries used in your remote control, you’re using them more than you might realize. That is, until they stop working and it’s time to change them. Take a second to think about what you do with those batteries when they run out of juice. Do you throw them away, or do you make sure you recycle them properly? Did you know that many batteries contain hazardous materials that, under federal regulation, have to be recycled?
On May 13, 1996, the Mercury-Containing Rechargeable Battery Management Act (Battery Act) was signed into law by the U.S. government to prevent the release of those hazardous substances into the environment. Under the Battery Act, manufacturers had to begin phasing out the use of mercury in batteries. The second part of the act provides for the efficient and cost-effective collection and recycling of used batteries, including nickel cadmium (Ni-Cd) batteries, small sealed lead-acid (SSLA) batteries and certain other batteries.
The Battery Act also established national, uniform labeling requirements for “regulated batteries” and “rechargeable consumer products.” It also allows the EPA to fine businesses up to $10,000 for not following the regulations. Nobody wants to get fined for something he or she can easily control, so it’s important to know the different types of batteries and which ones need to be recycled.
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Alkaline batteries are one of the most commonly used batteries. You can put them in pretty much any of your household products, from remote controls to your camera. When the Battery Act was passed, it phased out the use of mercury in alkaline batteries. Even though these batteries don’t contain mercury, you can still recycle them. All batteries contain metals, which can still be harmful to the environment, even if it isn’t a very noticeable amount. While you can throw them away, we suggest recycling them with your other batteries.
Li-ion batteries are often found in electronic devices, such as cell phones and laptop computers. These batteries don’t contain many toxic chemicals, but could still be considered dangerous when placed in a landfill or incinerated. When exposed to high temperatures, Li-ion batteries have the potential to overheat and explode, causing what metals they do contain to enter the atmosphere. These batteries usually last until the electronic device they power needs to be disposed of. Most recycling companies that accept e-waste will also take your batteries.
Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cd) Batteries
Ni-Cd batteries contain the toxic metal cadmium, and therefore must be recycled under this regulation. The metals in Ni-Cd batteries contain no threat to human health or the environment while they are in use. If the batteries are landfilled or incinerated, however, the metals could find their way into our food and water sources. There are a number of simple options for consumers and businesses to recycle these batteries, including mail-in programs, offered by recycling companies.
Silver Oxide Batteries
Silver oxide batteries, also known as button cell batteries, contain mercury, meaning they have to be recycled. Button cell batteries tend to have long lives, and won’t need to be disposed of as often. When you do need to dispose of one, check with your state or county to find out if they are accepted as part of a household hazardous waste program. Recycling companies, like EverLights, will also accept them and recycle them properly.
Lead Acid Batteries
Lead acid batteries are one of the most harmful products when landfilled, but also have the highest rate of recycling. Plastic, lead and sulfuric acid, the three substances uses to make lead acid batteries, are all incredibly dangerous if they are released in to the atmosphere. When you’re swapping out one of these batteries, check with the store you’re using to see if they recycle the batteries. If not, bring the battery to a local recycling center that accepts them.
Our suggestion to businesses is to play it safe when it comes to battery recycling. Instead of trying to determine what needs to be recycled and what doesn’t, send all of your batteries to a recycling company. Doing this will ensure you don’t receive one of those $10,000 fines, and it will save you from wasting time researching which battery is which. You can also read more about the Battery Act here.
EverLights will accept all batteries as part of our recycling services. Our packaging makes the storage and transportation of your spent batteries as simple as possible. If you want more information on battery recycling, contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at 773-734-9873, or visit our website at www.everlights.com