Recycling Batteries

While I’m on the topic of batteries, I thought I’d write about recycling them.

This summer, the city of Ann Arbor converted to “single-stream” recycling. What this means is that now we just dump all of our recyclables into a single bin and someone, somewhere sorts it all out. When they implemented this system, they also stopped accepting batteries at the curbside pickup.

At the time, I thought, “How dumb is that”? People are just going to start throwing their batteries in the trash. Well, as it turns out, I guess that isn’t so bad after all.

The latest newsletter from the Ann Arbor Public Services Department notes:

It is generally accepted that used, alkaline batteries can be placed in the trash. U.S. alkaline batteries—also called one-use, disposable, dry cells, non-rechargeables, or nontoxic “green” rechargeables—have eliminated the addition of mercury since 1995. The resulting batteries are relatively inert.

Rechargeable batteries are another matter. The newsletter says:

Rechargeable batteries contain toxic, heavy metals, such as nickel-cadmium, lithium, and mercury, and should not be placed in the trash. Rechargeables should be taken to free drop-off sites at many stores that sell these batteries, including Batteries Plus, Best Buy, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Office Depot, Radio Shack, Sears, Staples [[and a bunch of local stores]]. Look for drop-off boxes at the Customer Service area. Recycle Ann Arbor’s Drop-Off Station and Washtenaw County’s Home Toxics Center also accept rechargeable batteries.

I still feel kind of funny about dumping the AAA batteries in the trash, but I guess it’s OK now.


  1. I wish our local authority would start recycling batteries. I have a sack of the things which should not be put in the trash but which I have no way to dispose of. But they would rather pay telephone number salaries to their executives than introduce a new service that would be a cost on the budget. Some stores have introduced boxes with a small slot that will take the small standard cells but there is no way to dispose of things like power drill rechargeable batteries, SLA batteries like in my computer UPS or my K2, and old dud Kenwood HT battery pack, etc.

Speak Your Mind