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. 


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


Batteries YES NOT-1

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 

Batteries NOT NOT-1

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)

Automotive Batteries 

Batteries NOT NOT-1

Automotive or starting  batteries, also known as wet-cell lead-acid batteries, should not be placed in the trash or recycling bins.

Auto Batteries 1

NOTE:  Electric Vehicle (EV) batteries are NOT accepted at SWA facilities. Refer to dealer only.


  • 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).

Disposal/Recycling Options

HCRCBig Box storesAuto Parts Stores
Single Use



Retail Battery Recycling Options

Business Name  Battery Drop-off Accepted Battery Types Limitations
Best Buy Yes Battery backups Residents only, three items per household per day
Lowe's Home Improvement Yes Rechargeable batteries, cell phones No single use batteries
Home Depot Yes Rechargeable batteries, cell phones No single use batteries
Batteries Plus Bulbs Yes Lead-acid, Li-Ion, NiCd, Li Poly No single use batteries
Office Depot/Office Max Yes Rechargeable batteries, PDA's, cell phones No single use batteries
Staples Yes Rechargeable batteries, Li-Ion, NiCd, NiMH, SSLA/Pb No single use batteries, no more than 11 lbs
Target Yes Rechargeable batteries, cell phones, MP3 players No single use batteries
Ace Hardware Contact local store Contact local store for info Contact local store for info
Auto Zone Yes Lead-acid batteries May receive $ store credit
Advanced Auto Parts Yes Lead-acid batteries May receive $ store credit
O'Reilly Auto Parts Yes Unbroken Lead-acid batteries May receive $ store credit

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. 


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 automotive batteries.

Lead Acid Batteries