Batteries are a mainstay of modern life and come in a large variety of chemistries and staggering number of shapes and package configurations. As batteries continue to develop and become more powerful, they also pose new dangers when misused or thrown away.
CONCERNS WITH BATTERIES
Many types of batteries contain toxic metals such as lead or cadmium and may also contain strong acids or bases. Lithium batteries pack more energy into less space and even a "dead" battery has a lot of energy left in it. Lithium is highly reactive and that energy can cause fires when they are broken open, damaged, or shorted.
Lithium batteries have been responsible for fires in transportation, garbage and recycling facilities nationwide when they become damaged by sorting and processing machinery. Please do not place lithium batteries in the trash OR the recycling bins. They should be taken to an appropriate collection point only.
Single Use Batteries
The most common sIngle-use batteries can be placed in the trash. Examples are:
Alkaline and Zinc-Carbon
Exception: Single-use Lithium and Button batteries should be managed with rechargeable batteries.
Lithium, Button, and Rechargeable Batteries
Rechargeable batteries and any type of lithium battery should not be placed in the trash or recycling bins. Examples:
Lithium (single use)
Small Sealed Lead Acid (SSLA)
Auto batteries, also known as wet-cell lead-acid batteries, should not be placed in the trash or recycling bins.
NOTE: Electric Vehicle (EV) batteries are NOT accepted at SWA facilities. Refer to dealer only.
WHERE CAN I TAKE USED BATTERIES?
Alkaline batteries can be thrown away in your garbage
Other single use batteries such as lithium should be recycled.
Many large retailers have collection boxes usually inside the lobby or near the entrance.
Auto batteries: Auto batteries should be brought to your retailer when purchasing a replacement, or they can be brought to all SWA collection sites during all operating hours (EV batteries not accepted at SWA facilities).
The information in this list was provided by the retailer and may change at any time. This is not intended to be a comprehensive list of all options available.
HOW ARE BATTERIES RECYCLED?
Batteries are shipped to one of several facilities in the US where they are mechanically broken apart and then melted into blocks of component metals. These blocks are then sold back to manufacturers to use as raw materials in other products. Lead acid batteries are generally made back into to automotive batteries.