Battery Disposal

“Don’t throw that out!” You’ve most likely heard this at some point in your life as you were trying to throw out some AAs or a 9V battery.

Next, you most likely looked whoever said it in the eye and slowly put the battery on the nearest countertop. (Then, of course, you waited until they weren’t looking and threw it away anyway.)

Still, it does make you wonder if they were correct. In the following guide, you’ll learn everything there is to know about how to dispose of batteries properly.

This includes when it’s fine to throw them in the trash can vs when you need to recycle batteries (and where to do it). Learn it all below!

How to Dispose of Common Household Batteries

Before 1996, all batteries were made of highly toxic components like mercury (hence your mom yelling at you when you tried to throw them out as a child). Throwing these batteries in the trash, where they’d end up in a landfill was a huge hazard to the environment. 

Fortunately, the government and modern technology stepped in. Now, most single-use household batteries are made with non-toxic materials and are safe to dispose of in the trash can. This includes AA, AAA, C, D, and 9V.


Despite this, it is still illegal to dispose of any batteries in the trash can in the state of California. Californians will have to take all batteries to a licensed battery recycling service. We’ll cover more on that later.

Also, those little “button cell” batteries that power watches and small devices cannot be disposed of in the trash. These contain mercury and must be recycled.

Other Types of Batteries

Lead-acid batteries and other car batteries are definitely toxic to the environment and should always be recycled. This is true of any rechargeable batteries, too.

Your mobile phone’s battery and any other rechargeable batteries must be recycled. There are penalties in most states for improper disposal of these batteries.

How to Recycle Batteries

Now you’re probably wondering exactly where to recycle batteries. Here are a few methods for finding the right recycling site for different kinds of batteries.

Put Them Back Where You Got Them

In most cases, this is the golden rule of how to recycle batteries. The place that sold the battery (or the device powered by it) will usually recycle it for you when you’re done with it. 

Your local mobile phone dealer, for example, should take back mobile batteries and devices for recycling. This is the same for car batteries, too. Anyone who sells or installs them will typically take your old car battery off your hands for recycling.

Google and Call Local Recyclers

If, for some odd reason, method 1 doesn’t work for you, try this. Google recycling centers in your local area. Starting with the closest, give them a call and ask if they recycle the batteries you need to dispose of.

Remember This Guide on How to Dispose of Batteries Properly

Improper battery disposal is deadly to the environment and usually illegal. Keep this list bookmarked to make sure you follow these rules on how to dispose of batteries.

Check the rest of our blog for more important tips on green living!