Summary of Battery Buying and Disposal Best Practices:
- Most household batteries may be disposed of in the regular garbage.
- If you purchase 12 or more batteries a year, rechargeable batteries will save you money.
- Few button batteries still contain mercury but if you have an older one, it may be taken to a Household Hazardous Waste Collection.
- Rechargeable batteries contain heavy metals and must be recycled.
Will County Partners for Rechargeable Battery Recycling:
- Braidwood's Fossil Ridge Library
- Crete Library
- Manhattan-Elwood Public Library
- Mokena Library
- New Lenox Public Library
- New Lenox Township
- Peotone Public Library (since Sept. 2015)
- Plainfield Public Library
- Three Rivers Public Library District (since Oct. 2015)
- Will County Administration Building
- Will County Land Use Office
- White Oak Library District - Crest Hill location (since Sept. 2016)
- Will County accept rechargeable and button batteries at Household Hazardous Waste Collections.
Will County Retail Partners for Rechargeable Batteries:
- Batteries Plus
- Best Buy
- Home Depot
- Interstate Batteries (and all button batteries)
- Call The Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (Call2Recycle), at 1-877-723-1297 or visit www.call2recycle.org
Retailers accepting spent or unwanted Lead-acid Batteries include:
- Batteries Plus
- Interstate Battery
- O'Reilly Auto Parts
- Napa Auto Parts
Tips for Choosing a Battery
- If you purchase more than 12 batteries a year, switching to rechargeable batteries will save money and resources. Money will be saved because you are not replacing batteries, and not throwing out old batteries, means less batteries in area landfills. NiCd rechargeables are made from nickel and cadmium, these batteries usually last many years and are commonly best used in low-to-moderate discharge devices such as scanners, portable radios, cordless phones and power tools. These batteries require special handling at the end of their lifetimes. All retailers of NiCad Batteries accept these batteries for recycling through RBRC (Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation).
- Similarly, the Nickel-Metal Hydride batteries (NiMH)are also available in standard cylindrical sizes and differ from NiCads in their higher memory capacity and better recharge ability. Commonly they are used in digital cameras, laptops and cell phones.
- Lithium-Ion batteries are also rechargeable and easily recycled through RBRC’s retail network.
- Alkaline batteries are the most common type of batteries. The premium version of alkaline manganese batteries are designed for high energy draining devices such as digital cameras and CD players. Manufacturers have been working to remove mercury from these batteries for decades and currently all types are either mercury-free or have an extremely low-mercury content. These batteries have basically replaced zinc-carbon and zinc-chloride batteries, which do not perform nearly as well. The EPA does not recognize these batteries as hazardous. They are also very difficult to recycle, so alkalines and zinc-based batteries should be sent to a landfill.
- Lithium batteries are similar to alkalines for use, but need to be kept separate for recycling. These batteries have been shown to overheat on rare occasion after they are spent, so store in a cool area with tape on the ends.
- Button batteries or silver oxide batteries, may still contain a mercury. They are commonly used in hearing aids, watches and some cameras. These should always be recycled.
- Nearly everyone relies on lead-acid batteries. They are used in cars, boats, lawn equipment and more. Made of lead and containing acid, these batteries are banned from landfills. These batteries are accepted by some retail outlets when new batteries are purchased. They are also accepted at most scrap metal recyclers and some retail outlets when no purchase is being made. If you have a spare lead-acid battery, keep it stored in a cool, dry place until it can be taken to a recycler or appropriate retailer.
Still concerned about alkaline batteries? Click here to see the results of a study of their components.
More information on the challenges of Battery Recycling is available in an article on Earth911.org.
Efforts are underway to collect and recycle single-use batteries. Visit the 2011 Battery Summit website to learn more about a possible nationwide program in the future!
Vermont is the first state to require all batteries are to be collected for recycling. See an article on the effort, set to start in 2016: http://www.call2recycle.org/leading-battery-companies-select-call2recycle-to-manage-nations-first-single-use-battery-recycling-program-in-vermont/
Click Here to download Will County's Battery Brochure in PDF form