We are currently in an age where being environmentally-friendly is as important as ever. Recycling paper and plastic goods is a great start to cutting down on our garbage output. While taking that step has saved landfills from accumulating as quickly, it has done nothing to reduce their toxicity.
Batteries function by converting chemical energy into electrical energy. Unfortunately, the chemicals required to produce electricity are harmful to the environment. When thrown away and taken to landfills, the toxic metals (including mercury and lead) leach into the ground. Groundwater transports the toxic particles to water sources, destroying ecosystems and posing a risk of poisoning humans.
It is important to properly dispose of or recycle batteries. It requires little effort, with most drop-offs located in your local community. All you have to do is take a short drive to drop them off at a disposal facility. Where can batteries be dropped off?
Local Governmental Centers
A wise place to check for battery drop-offs is at a local city hall, or city-owned building (such as a police station, fire station, and public works facility). More communities are offering battery and electronic recycling programs, so it is beneficial to see if your local facilities do as well. These are the most convenient locations to recycle batteries, as they are close and are open most days of the week.
If your community does not offer battery recycling on a self-serve basis at local buildings, the next best option is to find out if your community holds periodic electronic recycling drives. Not only are batteries accepted at these events, but so are televisions, computers, phones, and other electronic devices that would cause harm to the environment if placed in a landfill. In larger communities, recycling drives typically take place once a month from spring to fall. This should not be a problem, as most consumers do not accumulate vast amounts of used batteries in short periods of time.
While community-driven battery collection is the most reliable way to ensure your batteries make it to a recycling facility, some retailers accept used batteries. There is no way to ensure whether your local retailer is actually sending batteries for recycling, or simply just disposing them. Deception like this is actually becoming very common to bring customers in the doors. This should be your last resource to battery recycling. Rechargeable batteries have a greater chance of being recycled by retailers than non-rechargeable varieties.