How to Prep Batteries for Recycling

Decades ago, tossing batteries in the trash was commonplace. This practice is gasp-worthy today because most people understand that toxic chemicals within batteries will harm the environment. Currently, most businesses and individuals store these items in-house until a trip to the recycling center is warranted. It’s always a good idea to prep the batteries before recycling so that they’re safe for storage and transport. Try these tips from the pros at Northeast Battery, and your batteries will be ready for any recycling facility.

Avoiding the Stack

Everyone is in a hurry when they’re switching out batteries. It’s tempting to stack the batteries on a shelf and head off to your next task. This scenario causes possible fire hazards, however.

Recycling batteries starts with the proper steps for preparation. From the moment that a person notices a dead battery, place it in a designated area to be further prepared. Do not stack the items. If they must be loose, be sure to arrange the collection area with no terminals in contact with each other.

Taping the Positive Side

The majority of batteries require a covered, positive terminal. These batteries include:

  • Sealed lead-acid batteries
  • AA, AAA, C and D lithium batteries

For proper battery storage, place a piece of masking tape over the + or positive side. Covering this area prevents shorts that might occur as you’re recycling batteries. Although the batteries may be 1.5 volts each, a short can create a significant fire hazard among multiple power sources.

Capping Terminals

Some batteries have terminals that extend out from their housings, such as 6- or 9-volt designs. The power-source experts suggest capping the terminals for battery storage. Use the same cap from when the item was purchased.

Other caps can be used from alternative sources as long as the cap is plastic and free from any metal. Ideally, cover both terminals for optimal safety. Masking tape can always be used if no caps can be found.

Dealing With Button Batteries

Button batteries are a wonder because of their small size. They can easily short out if you stack them together, however. As you become a pro at battery recycling, recognize the unique features of these power sources. The positive and negative terminals are simply the battery’s flat surfaces. Cover both sides of the button battery so that no voltage flows between items in a storage container.

Storing Batteries Between Recycling Trips

If you want to know how to store dead batteries, keep their original packages. Most batteries come in a plastic container that has some sort of snap construction. After physically preparing the batteries, place them into their original packaging.

The container offers these benefits, such as:

  • Holding the items in the proper positions for optimal safety
  • Saving space in the storage area
  • Making the transfer between storage and the recycling center an easy prospect

Mark the plastic containers as “used” so that everyone knows that the items are definitely no good for further use, suggests the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Practicing Safety With Stored Batteries

Many regions have municipal battery recycling available to residents, reports the Washington, D.C. Department of Public Works. Visit these locations on a regular basis so that the batteries don’t become a large pile.

Remember to place the used batteries in a cool and remote location. Children and pets shouldn’t have access to them, for example.

Take a look around the batteries too. It’s easy to stockpile items in a storage area without realizing that fire hazards exist. Don’t store your batteries around these items, such as:

  • Fuel
  • HVAC vents
  • Near parked vehicles

If you have any questions regarding your used batteries, contact Northeast Battery today. We live and breathe battery facts. Always recycle your batteries in order to save money and help the environment. One battery at a time is all it takes to stay compliant with the latest rules and regulations.