- by Bryan Veldboom - updated on 4/13/2021
What is the one thing that all batteries and light bulbs have in common? Eventually, they will need to be replaced. When that happens, you may find yourself wondering what you should do with your old batteries and bulbs. At Batteries Plus, we're committed to protecting the environment by recycling spent batteries and bulbs. Find out how to recycle at our stores, including what types of material we accept and how to prepare your recyclables before bringing them in.
About two-thirds of U.S. household waste is either incinerated or placed in landfills. This is a big problem with batteries, since they contain chemicals and heavy metals that can be dangerous if not disposed of properly. When placed in a landfill, these chemicals and heavy metals can leak out, contaminating soil, groundwater, lakes and streams.
Light bulbs can contain both mercury and phosphor, both of which are toxic to human beings. When light bulbs are thrown out, they end up in landfills where these substances can leach out into the groundwater and end up contaminating drinking water. Although each bulb only contains a small amount of these chemicals, these substances build up over time to become more dangerous.
The spent batteries and bulbs brought to our stores are sent to EPA certified processors where they can be properly recycled. All salvageable material is separated and reused. For light bulbs, the mercury and phosphor powder will be properly and safely handled.
Batteries Plus recycles a wide range of batteries, including lead acid, lithium ion and more. For light bulbs, the list includes LEDs, CFLs, halogens and much more. Check out our recycling page for a full list of everything we recycle. Due to differences in state and local regulations, there is some slight variation in the type of material each store may accept. There may also be a cost for recycling, but this too will vary by location. For the most accurate information, contact your local store and ask what they accept.
Yes you can. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency provides instructions on their site regarding how to safely clean up a broken light bulb. After cleaning up the broken material, contact your local Batteries Plus for instructions on how to transport the recyclable materials.
When gathering your old batteries, it's important to remember that even though they are low on power there is a potential for them to cause sparks if the terminals aren't kept secure. That's why it's important that you insulate the battery's terminals for transportation, so that terminals from different batteries don't touch. One way to do this is by bagging each of the batteries individually.
You'll also want to be sure to keep them clear of anything metallic or conductive, so don't store them with loose metal objects, keys or coins. As mentioned above, be sure that each battery is individually bagged. One other thing to note, if the battery is embedded in a device and you're not sure how to remove it, simply bring the device into our store and one of our associates will remove it for you. If you have any questions, you can always contact the associates at your local store and they'll be happy to tell you how to transport your recyclables.
As you can see, Batteries Plus makes it easy to protect the environment by recycling your old batteries and bulbs. Want to know more? Find out everything you need to know about expired batteries. Do you own or operate a business? Find out how you can benefit from our business recycling program.