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America Recycles Day: Recycle Your Used Batteries and Bulbs

Power - by Bryan Veldboom - updated on 11/7/2023

volunteers picking up trash

Tuesday, November 15th is America Recycles Day. This day was set aside to help raise environmental awareness by encouraging people to recycle. At Batteries Plus, we take recycling very seriously. That's why we've made it easy for you to recycle your old batteries and spent light bulbs. Just drop them off at your nearest store and we'll pass them on to our recycling partners. Here's a more in-depth look at what we recycle.

Why Recycle?

Batteries contain hazardous materials that when improperly recycled or thrown away can end up in our ecosystems and have negative effects on our environment and ourselves. Here are some of the reasons why you should recycle:

  • Improperly thrown away batteries can short-circuit and cause fires
  • Prevent hazardous waste from entering landfills
    • Prevent runoff into watersheds, ecosystems, and agricultural fields thereby protecting the quality of the food and water we consume
  • Batteries contain non-renewable metals and rare earth materials that can be repurposed by recycling and therefore the less we have to mine
  • Practice environmental stewardship

What Kind of Batteries Does Batteries Plus Take?

Batteries Plus recycles a wide range of different battery types. Due to differences in state and local regulations, there may be some variation in the type of batteries your store accepts. There may also be a cost for recycling, but this will also vary by location. If you have questions, reach out to your nearest store. The majority of our locations, however, recycle the following types of batteries:

  • Lead acid - Lead acid batteries are frequently used in cars, trucks, RVs, boats, motorcycles, golf carts, sump pumps, UPS units and more.
  • Nickel cadmium (NiCd) - Nickel cadmium batteries can be found in rechargeable devices, such as cordless phones, drills, camcorders, calculators, electronic flash units and cordless tool battery packs.
  • Nickel metal hydride (NiMH) - These batteries are commonly used in flashlights, camcorders, laptops, toothbrushes, electric razors, back-up power and battery packs.
  • Lithium ion - Lithium ion batteries are used to power cell phones, laptops, two-way radios, scanners, tools, cameras, watches and tool battery packs.
  • Household - Alkaline and other household batteries are used in devices like TV remotes, kids' toys, video game controllers and wireless headsets.

How Do You Safely Prepare Batteries for Recycling?

Since batteries contain chemicals, we recommend following a few basic safety tips when bringing recyclables to one of our stores.

  • Prevent the terminals of your batteries from touching. For small batteries, you should insulate the terminals with clear tape, or place each battery in its own individual bag
  • Store batteries in a non-conductive container and keep them clear of anything metallic or conductive, like coins, keys or other metal objects.
  • If you're not sure how to remove a battery from a device, bring the entire device to Batteries Plus and one of our associates will remove it for you.

What Types of Light Bulbs Does Batteries Plus Recycle?

As with batteries, the type of light bulbs each store accepts will vary from region to region. There may also be a cost for recycling, but this depends upon the bulb type and regulations. Here is a general list of the lighting products Batteries Plus accepts for recycling:

  • LED
  • Compact fluorescents (CFLs)
  • Fluorescent tubes
  • U bend fluorescent bulbs
  • Plastic coated & shatter shield bulbs
  • Incandescents
  • Soft/flood lamps
  • Germicidal & UV lamps
  • Halogens
  • High pressure sodium bulbs
  • Mercury vapor bulbs
  • Cold cathode bulbs
  • Lighting ballasts

How Do You Safely Prepare Light Bulbs for Recycling?

Old light bulbs are prone to breaking, especially when you're packaging several of them at once. One good way to prevent this is by wrapping your old light bulbs in bubble wrap, newspaper or some other packing material. If you still have the original packaging, this is another great way to protect them during transit.

What should you do if you break a bulb? Some bulbs, such as fluorescents and metal halide bulbs contain mercury. If you end up breaking one of these types of bulbs, the EPA has detailed instructions on how to clean up a mercury-containing bulb  .

Batteries Plus Offers Business Recycling Services

Batteries Plus also offers recycling services for businesses. Not sure what to do with all of your old lead acid or rechargeable batteries? Sign up for a free business account and you'll become eligible for our B2B recycling service. Find out more about the additional perks available to you through our free business account program.

How Recycling Can Benefit Your Business

As consumers become increasingly more concerned with their impact on the environment and consciously choosing businesses that are eco-friendly to do business with, here are some benefits to your business by recycling:

  • By recycling, manufacturers can reuse the raw materials and nonrenewable resources in batteries, thereby reducing their costs to produce batteries, and your costs to buy them and sell to your customers, also reducing consumer costs, and gaining a competitive market advantage
  • Lower your environmental footprint
  • Free up storage space in your facility and remove the hardship of recycling with Batteries Plus services
  • Build a community of environmentally friendly practices
  • Improved morale among employees and consumers - when people know they are contributing to a cause they become more loyal

Recycling at Batteries Plus Makes a Big Difference

Though it may seem like a small thing, dropping off your spent batteries and bulbs can make a big difference. Each year, Batteries Plus recycles roughly 47.5 million pounds of lead acid batteries and 1.68 million pounds of other battery types. We also recycle over half a million pounds of light bulbs and over 30,000 pounds of lighting ballasts annually.

Best of all, recycling produces jobs. According to the National Recycling Coalition, recycling creates four jobs for everyone created within the waste management industry. Now that's something we can all feel good about. Questions? Learn more about our recycling services online.

Want to learn more about our recycling services?

View Recycling Services