Recyling Batteries in the Village

Residents and local businesspeople are invited to drop off old or obsolete batteries and battery packs in the clearly marked bin in the Public Works Division, Suite 230 of Village Hall. 

Most household and consumer electronics batteries are accepted.  These batteries are NOT ACCEPTED:

  • Wet Cell Lead Acid batteries (Uses; car, boat, golf cart). 
  • Small Sealed Lead Acid Batteries (Uses: backup power supplies, small equipment)

The Village introduced a year-round household battery recycling pilot program in the Community Center Lobby on April 28, 2011. The six-month trial was successful and the program is now year-round.

Battery Types and Benefits of Recycling

In 1996, the Mercury-Containing and Rechargeable Battery Management Act was signed into federal law to address two fundamental issues: to phase out the use of mercury in rechargeable batteries and to provide collection methods and recycling or proper disposal of rechargeable batteries. Since then, recycling rates have steadily increased. Batteries should be recycled whenever possible even though alkaline batteries may be disposed of in the trash in many states. Improperly disposed batteries can pollute water sources, leach from solid waste landfills, cause burns or danger to eyes and skin and expose the environment to hazardous lead and acid.

Two types of batteries exist: Primary (those that cannot be reused) and Secondary (those that can be reused; also known as rechargeable).

Each year, Americans throw out almost 180,000 tons of batteries. About 14,000 of those tons are rechargeable batteries; the rest are single-use. The up-front price of disposable batteries may be quite a bit lower than rechargeable batteries, but the long-term cost of choosing single-use batteries is very high. Replacing single-use batteries with rechargeables will not only save you money but ensure that fewer batteries end up in landfills.

Once rechargeable batteries reach the end of their usable life, they can be recycled ensuring the proper disposal of toxic chemicals often used in these batteries. The recycling process for rechargeable batteries is described here.

The following list of batteries are those consumers are likely to use for household applications.

  • ALKALINE BATTERIES (Single-use; non-rechargeable; non-hazardous waste but recyclable)
    Uses: flashlights, small electronics, remote controls.

    Alkaline batteries are usually single-use disposable batteries in 9 volt, C, D, AA and AAA sizes. Some alkaline batteries are rechargeable.

    Mercury, the added hazardous component of alkaline batteries, was eliminated by a 1996 federal law that phased out that component. Studies since then have shown that nearly all old mercury alkaline batteries have been disposed of. Nearly all of the alkaline batteries in use in Florida today have no added hazardous components. They do still contain a trace amount of "native" mercury that results from the mercury inherent in the raw ore of zinc and manganese. Under state law and regulations, alkaline batteries can be disposed of in the trash.

    However, alkalines can be recycled by crushing them to recover and reuse steel, zinc and manganese. Some recyclers, like Toxco in Canada, also recover any trace amounts of mercury in their recovery process.

    The Village's recycling vendor accepts alkaline batteries even through recycling is not always cost effective. Some regions of the US near recycling centers have programs; alkaline batteries collected in Florida must be transported a long distance prior to recycling.

  • LITHIUM BATTERIES (Li; non-rechargeable; non-hazardous waste but recylable)
    Uses: phones, small equipment.

    Check the label to determine whether you have a Lithium or Lithium Ion battery.  These batteries are often packaged together with one single connector.

  • LITHIUM ION AND LITHIUM ION POLYMER BATTERIES (Li-Ion; rechargeable; non-hazardous waste but should be recycled)
    Uses: laptops, cell phones, other small electronics

    Lithium-ion batteries are recyclable, and the metal content of these batteries can be recovered in the recycling process.

    These batteries only come in rectangular or cylindrical shapes and are mostly commonly used in portable electronics including laptops and cell phones. There is no issue of a memory effect, meaning they can be recharged before they are completely discharged without affecting the energy capacity. They are smaller, lighter and provide more energy than nickel-cadmium or nickel-metal hydride batteries.

    They should not be stored in high temperatures, as they can easily ignite or explode. Discharge the battery and tape the terminals when storing these batteries for recycling.

  • NICKEL-CADMIUM BATTERIES (NiCd; rechargeable; hazardous waste and should be recycled)
    Uses: portable electronics, toys, power tools.

    The nickel cadmium battery was the first rechargeable battery that was reasonably priced and available in the standard cylindrical sizes (AA, AAA, etc.). They now make up about 80% of rechargeable batteries sold in the U.S.

    These batteries come in two types: vented cells and hermetically sealed cells. Vented cells must be positioned so they can vent properly and also require water for maintenance. They are commonly used in commercial and military applications. Hermetically sealed batteries, however, do not require any maintenance, and they do not need to be specially positioned.

    NiCd batteries are used in low- to moderate-discharge devices such as scanners, portable radios, cordless phones and power tools. Because these batteries contain cadmium, a toxic heavy metal, they require special disposal. In the U.S., there is a fee built into the price for nickel cadmium batteries, which includes proper disposal of the batteries at the end of their lifetimes through the RBRC program. All NiCd batteries are identified by EPA as hazardous waste and must be recycled. The recycling process recovers cadmium and iron-nickel for steel production.

  • NICKEL METAL HYDRIDE BATTERIES (NiMH; rechargeable; non-hazardous waste but recyclable)
    Uses: consumer electronics, power tools.

    The main difference between this battery and the NiCd battery is the metal hydride used instead of cadmium.

    Nickel-metal hydride batteries are also available in the standard cylindrical sizes. They have two to three times the capacity of a nickel-cadmium battery, and memory effect is not as significant. Memory effect is when a battery's maximum energy capacity gradually decreases as a result of being recharged before the battery has completely discharged.

    Nickel-metal hydride batteries are commonly used in high-discharge devices like portable power tools, digital cameras, cell phones and laptops. They are considered non-hazardous waste, but do contain elements that can be recycled, often into stainless steel.

  • BUTTON BATTERIES (Mercuric Oxide, Silver Oxide, Lithium, Alkaline, Zinc-Air; non-rechargeable; hazardous waste and should be recycled)
    Uses: hearing aids, watches, calculators.

    Silver oxide batteries contain mercury and should be recycled.  There are several different types of button batteries.  Because it is difficult for consumers to tell the difference between the hazardous and nonhazardous button batteries, it is best to take them to a local collection site. 

  • SMALL SEALED LEAD ACID BATTERIES (SSLA; rechargeable; hazardous waste and should be recycled)
    Uses: smaller equipment and backup power supplies.

    Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC), which provides the required recycling for most battery manufacturers, accepts SSLA batteries weighing up to 11 pounds.

  • WET CELL LEAD ACID BATTERIES (Automotive and Sealed Lead-Based; rechargeable; hazardous waste and should be recycled)
    Uses: autos, boats, trucks. Retailers are required to take these back for recycling as trade-ins for new batteries.

    Lead acid batteries are the oldest type of rechargeable battery. It's essential to recycle them because of the hazardous materials and valuable resources inside them.

    Over 97 percent of all battery lead used in automotive and commercial batteries between 1997 and 2001 was recycled, making lead acid battery recycling one of the most successful recycling programs in the world

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