Safely Dispose of Batteries!

The way we dispose of our goods can have a major impact on public health and safety! For example, did you know that the solid waste industry is experiencing an increase in unexpected fires? Flames are spreading both inside the trash truck and on the transfer station floor, and the main culprit is believed to be the improper disposal of lithium batteries. When these items are improperly disposed in your trash bin, they have the potential to quickly combust into a very large fire. Most batteries are near-impossible to detect when trash is emptied from the truck because of their small size. Here's the rundown of how to properly dispose of batteries and create a safer world for all!

Disposable Batteries (AA, AAA, C, etc.)
Single-use disposable batteries are best for items that have a low energy pull over a long period of time. Such items include TV remote controls, flashlights, and smoke detectors. These batteries will be able to hold their charge for a longer period of time, and it's good to have them stocked up and ready for when you need them. Disposable batteries (AA, AAA, C, D, 9 volt, etc...) CAN be safely disposed directly into your trash bin. Once these batteries are drained, they cannot be recharged, and pose no threat to your trash bin, the trash truck, or the solid waste workers. You can also recycle these disposable batteries at certain drop-off locations*.

Rechargeable Batteries
Rechargeable batteries are best suited for items that draw a large amount of power over a short period of time (such as battery-operated toys). Rechargeable batteries are more expensive than the disposable counterparts, but you are able to recharge them after they are depleted. Dispose of rechargeable batteries at a local collection site, so that they can be recycled*. Recycled rechargeable batteries will take on a new life as a new battery and minimize the mining of resources to make new ones. These batteries can pose a threat if disposed of in trash or recycling. 

Button Batteries
Button batteries can be found in a variety of devices such as key fobs, remote controls, hearing aids, holiday decorations, toys, and more. These small batteries pose a threat if exposed to curious children. According to the National Safety Council, more than 2,800 children are treated every year after swallowing button batteries. Swallowing batteries can cause severe internal burns, and even death. These serious injuries have increased in the last decade. Keep these batteries out of the reach of children and call 911 immediately if a battery is swallowed. Button batteries can be recycled at designated collection points*.

Car Batteries
Luckily, when it's time to purchase a new car battery, you will most likely be able to turn your old battery in at the same time.
 Collection locations include: O'Reilly Auto Parts, Jiffy Lube, Walmart, Dobbs Auto and Tire Center, Advance Auto Parts, Auto Zone, Firestone, St. Louis Household Hazardous Waste Drop-Off Facility, and Earthbound Recycling.

Nickel Metal Hydride/Cadmium, Lead Acid, and Lithium Ion Batteries
For the remaining type of batteries, it's important to properly dispose of them at the correct drop-off points. These type of batteries are the MOST DANGEROUS inside a trash bin - as the content can be toxic to the environment and able to easily combust. Drop these items off at the St. Louis Household Hazardous Waste Drop-Off Facility or sign up for our upcoming Electronic Recycling event ( Disposal fees may apply.
  • Nickel Metal Hydride  and Nickel Cadmium batteries are typically found in cordless power tools, digital cameras, and cordless phones. 
  • Small Sealed Lead Acid batteries are found in emergency devices, emergency exit signs, security systems, mobility scooters, and UPS back-ups.
  • Lithium Ion are found in cell phones, laptops, power tools, and two-way radios.
The act of converting chemical energy into electrical energy is what makes batteries such an amazing invention. By disposing of them properly, you can reduce the risk of causing a serious fire and prevent toxic materials from going back into the earth. A good rule of thumb is to only throw disposable batteries into the trash - all others should be recycled.

*Battery Drop-off Locations
Do you want to recycle your disposable batteries? If so, you're in luck! There are a number of locations around the St. Louis area that will collect disposable batteries for recycling. 
  • Batteries Plus
  • St. Louis Household Hazardous Waste Drop-Off Facility
  • Earthbound Recycling
  • ecoATM
  • Best Buy
  • Target
  • Walmart
  • SpectrumEcycle
  • Midwest Recycling Center
  • Arch City
The collection services listed in this article are not comprehensive, and are not specific recommendations by the City of Maryland Heights.