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Why Is It Important to Recycle Batteries?

Power - by Bryan Veldboom - updated on 11/7/2022

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November 15th is National Recycling Day, which was set aside to promote recycling across the country. Today we'll be taking a closer look at why recycling is so important and how you can help keep batteries and light bulbs out of landfills by recycling them at Batteries Plus.

How Do Batteries Affect the Environment?

Batteries contain chemicals and heavy metals that can be harmful if not disposed of properly. When placed in a landfill, these substances can contaminate soil, and groundwater, as well as lakes and streams. For this reason, it's against the law to throw certain types of batteries in your trash.

In addition, many of the metals used to manufacture batteries, such as cobalt, lithium and nickel, need to be mined. Not only are these substances non-renewable, the process of mining them also gives off large amounts of carbon emissions, which contribute greatly to the earth's global carbon footprint. Recycling batteries helps to cut these emissions by reusing the materials in spent batteries.

Is Throwing Away Light Bulbs Bad for the Environment?

Similar to batteries, light bulbs can have an adverse effect on the environment. Light bulbs can contain mercury and phosphor, which are toxic to people. If light bulbs are placed into a landfill, these substances can leak out into groundwater and drinking water.

Where Can I Take My Battery to Be Recycled?

You can recycle your old batteries and light bulbs simply by bringing them to your nearest Batteries Plus location. The batteries and bulbs that we collect are then sent to EPA-certified processors where all salvageable material is separated and repurposed. Our Recycling Page can provide you with information on the specific types of batteries and bulbs we accept.

Keep in mind that due to differences in state and local regulations there is some variation in the type of recyclables each store accepts. There may also be a cost for recycling, although this will also vary by location. For the most accurate information, reach out to your nearest Batteries Plus directly.

How Many Batteries and Light Bulbs Does Batteries Plus Recycle?

Every year, Batteries Plus recycles approximately 47.5 million pounds of lead acid batteries and more than 1.68 million pounds of all other batteries. We also recycle over half a million pounds of light bulbs and over 30,000 pounds of lighting ballasts annually.

Battery and Light Bulb Recycling Tips

Here are a few tips to follow when bringing recyclables to one of our stores.

  • Be sure to keep battery terminals from touching; for alkaline and other small batteries, you can bag them each individually, or place a piece of masking tape over the terminal ends.
  • Keep batteries 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.
  • If you have a broken CFL or Mercury-containing light bulb, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency   provides instructions on how to clean up the bulb and transport it to a recycling facility.

Batteries Plus Offers Recycling Services for Businesses

Batteries Plus also offers recycling services for businesses. Whether you're a small business or a large corporation with dozens of locations, Batteries Plus can help you with your recycling needs. We offer customizable transportation options. Plus, our experts can help ensure that your company remains in compliance with all federal, state, municipal, EPA and DOT regulations. Check out our Business Accounts page for a full list of everything Batteries Plus can do for your business. If you like what you see, consider signing up for a free business account.

Want to learn more about our recycling services?

View Recycling Services