What to do with your batteries when they stop going and going and going…

batteryToday is National Battery Day! It seems like it’s always time to replace a battery somewhere: in your smoke alarm, your car, your laptop, your flashlight. But recycling those worn-out batteries can get confusing.  How do you know which ones to recycle, and where?

The average household uses three types of batteries on a regular basis: lead-acid batteries in vehicles, and either rechargeable or single-use batteries in electronic devices.

The easiest time to recycle a lead-acid battery is when you take your vehicle in for a battery replacement. Lead-acid batteries are banned from landfill disposal in both Kansas and Missouri, and both states require all businesses that sell new batteries to recycle used ones.  Even if you replace the battery yourself, you can recycle the old one at your local automotive service center. Most accept them for free.

Call2Recycle, Inc. is a nonprofit, public service organization that provides responsible recycling for rechargeable batteries, such as the ones used in laptops or cameras. Call2Recycle collects and recycles rechargeable batteries for free at many office supply stores and electronics retailers. The organization also offers collection box and bulk shipping options to public and private entities.

All lead-acid and rechargeable batteries can also be recycled at your community HHW facility.

Single-use batteries — such as alkaline and button batteries — can be recycled at the Kansas City, Mo., Household Hazardous Waste Facility, which serves residents of communities that participate in the regional HHW program. If you live in a Missouri community that doesn’t currently participate, contact your city council or county commission and ask them to join the regional program. If you live in Leavenworth, Wyandotte, Johnson or Miami counties in Kansas, check with your county HHW facility to find out about recycling single-use batteries.

In addition to recycling, you can take steps to reduce battery waste. Check to see if you already have batteries on hand before buying more and try to purchase electronics that function without batteries. When it is necessary to buy batteries, consider rechargeable batteries, which have a longer life span.

For more information on battery recycling locations, visit RecycleSpot.org.

Photo credit: scalespeeder on flickr

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