Throwing rechargeable batteries in a recycling bin or the garbage can put property and people’s lives at risk. In fact, fires traced to lithium ion batteries have been reported at recycling facilities nationwide, and fires have started in the garbage trucks that go to your home.
These batteries power our cell phones, cordless power tools and even hover boards. According to a recent Resource Recycling article, they have components that are flammable. The battery heats up when shorted or damaged, and when that happens, they produce oxygen, which facilitates combustion.
“We may only be starting to see the tip of the iceberg,” said SWA Director of Facility and Contract Operations Ray Schauer. “Production of these batteries has tripled since 2015 and growth is estimated to continue. The fact that we could see more of these lithium batteries at our facilities is cause for concern.”
Fortunately, Palm Beach County residents can dispose of rechargeable (non-alkaline) batteries at any of the SWA's seven Home Chemical and Recycling Centers.
Regular alkaline batteries (AA, AAA, C, D and 9 volt) can be placed in your garbage. But any other type of battery (rechargeable, nickel-cadmium, automotive, lithium-ion, cell phone, lead-acid) should be dropped at one of the Home Chemical and Recycling Centers.
The SWA’s locations include (from north county to south county):
In addition to these locations, many major retailers will recycle batteries for free, and have drop-off containers placed near the front of their stores.
“We’re asking all Palm Beach County residents to please never throw rechargeable batteries either in the garbage or your recycling bin,” said Schauer. “The best place for Palm Beach County residents to take their old batteries is to one of the SWA’s Home Chemical and Recycling Centers.”
Commercial quantities of batteries may require special disposal. Call 561-687-1100 for details on recycling batteries from your business.
In the last fiscal year, Palm Beach County residents recycled:
- 57,460 pounds of lead acid batteries
- 6,896 pounds of mixed batteries
- 3,400 pounds of ni-cad batteries and
- 2,280 pounds of lithium ion batteries
at the SWA’s Home Chemical and Recycling Centers. Each year, the SWA’s Home Chemical and Recycling Centers either recycles or safely disposes of 4.2M pounds of household hazardous wastes. Remember, pollution prevention starts at home.
A full list of household hazardous wastes can be found at SWA.org/HCRC or call 561-697-2700 or 866-SWA-INFO (toll-free) to learn more about the Solid Waste Authority of Palm Beach County’s Home Chemical and Recycling Centers.