What do I Need to Know About Battery Recycling?

Jodee Redmond

Batteries are used to power a number of products we use in our everyday lives, and battery recycling is something that we should all be aware of. When batteries are thrown out in the garbage and end up in landfills, they can have a negative effect on the environment. They can also cause health problems, some of which can be very serious.

Many kinds of batteries can be recycled.
Many kinds of batteries can be recycled.

Many kinds of batteries can be recycled. Most car batteries end up being recycled, for example. Watch batteries are also commonly involved in battery recycling. The alkaline batteries that are used in a variety of applications shouldn't be thrown in the garbage. Instead, they can and should be recycled.

Most car batteries end up getting recycled.
Most car batteries end up getting recycled.

Silver oxide batteries, such as watch batteries, are the object of battery recycling efforts. After a few years of use, they can start to leak mercury. The mercury is corrosive, and the battery's outer shell will start to break down. Exposure to this substance can cause a number of health problems, including shaking, difficulty concentrating, and sleep difficulties. These symptoms can occur even at a low level of exposure.

When batteries are not recycled, the metals contained in them is released into the environment when the garbage is burned. Another environmental hazard that comes from improper disposal of batteries is that they may leak after being delivered to the landfill. Acid and lead from the batteries are introduced to the soil and water as a result.

Handling batteries that have started to leak can cause injuries. You need to be very careful if you pick up a battery that has been punctured or has a substance leaking from it. The acid inside the battery may burn your skin, and you will want to take care that it doesn't get into your eyes.

When you buy batteries, ask the retailer whether you can return them to that location for recycling. Many of them collect batteries for recycling. If the first store you approach about battery recycling doesn't participate in a program, then you have the option of finding another retailer.

Another option that you can exercise if you are concerned about not adding more batteries to landfills is to buy rechargeable batteries. They do cost more than single-use batteries, but when you choose to buy them, you are doing something to lessen your impact on the environment. These kinds of batteries can also be recycled when you are finished with them.

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