Not a lot of people know this but an average spent battery is highly recyclable. More than 70% of a used battery’s weight comprises of lead which is completely reusable and can be recycled into lead acid. In fact, more than half of all lead supply in the world comes from recycling of batteries. Most batteries are highly combustible if not properly disposed, and you should follow the following tips to ensure safe disposal of spent batteries.
Do not throw old batteries in the fire
The chemicals used in batteries are highly combustible. Throwing them in the fire can easily cause explosions which can send shrapnel flying through the air very easily. Instead of trying to burn your batteries, you should dispose of them at specific recycling points.
Never store old batteries together
Spent batteries are filled with toxic and combustible chemicals that can leak easily. Some batteries retain a healthy amount of charge even when they are dead. Storing old batteries together can cause fires, explosions and even toxic leaks in your cupboards and drawers.
Look for battery disposal/recycling points
Battery disposal and recycling points can generally be found at electronics stores, hardware stores, office supplies stores and even automotive stores, dealerships and garages. Phone retailers are authorized by companies to set up recycling points for old phone batteries and you may even get a small discount when you recycle your old phone battery and buy a new one at authorized stores.
Dispose of old batteries ASAP
Old batteries are prone to leakage. Most batteries experience an expansion of their outer shells from heat towards the end of their life cycle which means that the chemicals inside them could easily leak. Most of these chemicals are highly toxic and can cause serious injuries and even poisoning. Since there is no way to prevent spent batteries from leaking, you should try to dispose of them as soon as possible.
Don’t throw old batteries in the garbage
Old batteries may be too weak to power your electronics but they are never “dead” in the true sense of the word. In fact, most old batteries retain a small amount of charge in them even when they are too weak to power the device they were used in. this small and insignificant amount of charge, however, can be just enough to react to items like aluminum foil and can start a fire in the presence of favorable conditions (methane produced by fermentation of food scrapes in the trash, dry bits of paper, flammable liquids like oils and fats). Hence, you should dispose of old batteries only at safe recycling points and avoid throwing them in the trash.