Batteries are considered hazardous waste in California when they are discarded. This includes AAA, AA, C, D, button cell, 9-volt, and all other batteries, both rechargeable and single-use. All batteries must be recycled or taken to a household hazardous waste disposal facility, a universal waste handler (e.g., storage facility or broker), or an authorized recycling facility.
Batteries are considered hazardous because of the metals and/or other toxic or corrosive materials they contain. Batteries are potentially a valuable source of recyclable metal.
According to a report titled Household Universal Waste Generation in California, 507,259,000 batteries were sold in California in 2001. According to the report, only 0.55 percent of these batteries were recycled.
Hazardous waste regulations designate a category of hazardous wastes called “universal waste.” This category includes batteries, fluorescent lamps, cathode ray tubes, instruments that contain mercury, and other items.
Contact the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) for more information. Also see the DTSC webpage on universal waste.
Where to Recycle or Safely Dispose Batteries
- Local Solutions
- Rechargeable Battery and Cell Phone Drop-Off Locator. Find where to recycle used rechargeable batteries from the Call2Recycle website.
- Earth911.com. Or call 1-800-CLEANUP (1-800-253-2687), a service of Earth 911, to find the nearest recycling center. The website includes information about most recyclable household waste, including household hazardous waste collection centers.
- CalRecycle E-Waste Disposal Search Directory. Find an E-waste collector or recycler near you to recycle electronic devices that contain embedded batteries.
- Where Can I Recycle My… Call 1-800-CLEAN-UP (253-2687) or enter a ZIP code at this website to find the nearest recycling center. Information about most recyclable household waste, including household hazardous waste collection centers, is included.
- Local Governmental Household Hazardous Waste Agencies. See the website for local governmental household hazardous waste agencies.
- Other Solutions
- The Big Green Box. The Big Green Box™ is a national program that offers companies, consumers, municipalities, and other generators, a low-cost, easy, and flexible way to recycle batteries and portable electronic devices. Once The Big Green Box™ is purchased, all shipping, handling, and recycling fees are included. The Big Green Box™ includes a UN-approved, pre-labeled container, pre-paid shipping to and from the recycling facility, and of course, all recycling fees.
- Battery Solutions. Battery recycling solutions for businesses, governmental agencies, and consumers.
- Retriev Technologies Inc. This company recycles most types and sizes of batteries including alkaline, lithium, mercury, NiCd, lead, and others.
- Kinsbursky Brothers Inc. A U.S. EPA-permitted battery-recycling facility in California.
- Aqua Metals. This company recycles lead acid batteries via aqua refining.
NOTE: CalRecycle provides this list of battery recycling options for informational purposes only. Neither CalRecycle nor the state of California endorses the companies listed or the technologies they employ in recycling batteries.
Other Ways You Can Help
- Buy Rechargeable Batteries and a Battery Charger. Devices powered by ordinary AAA, AA, C, D, and 9-volt batteries can be powered by rechargeable batteries of those sizes.
- Look for Portable Electronic Devices that Do Not Use Batteries. Some devices instead use a capacitor that is recharged, typically by shaking the device or by normal use rather than batteries. See Alternative Power Products for details.
- Reduce. Use single-use batteries wisely to avoid unnecessary replacement and disposal.
CalRecycle Public Service Announcements (PSA)
Batteries: It’s so easy to recycle your batteries! Batteries are considered hazardous because of the metals and/or other toxic or corrosive materials they contain. Batteries are potentially a valuable source of recyclable metal. All batteries in California must be taken to a Household Hazardous Waste disposal facility, a universal waste handler, or an authorized recycling facility.
- Alternative Power Products. Products that utilize power obtained through mechanical means, such as winding, shaking, or squeezing.
- Electrical Storage, Present, Past, and Future. A description of all types of rechargeable batteries.
- Rechargeable Batteries and Chargers. An introduction to buying and using rechargeable batteries.
- Recycling Containers. Sources of containers for storing used batteries, as well as containers for storing other recyclables.
- Solid Waste Facilities, Sites and Operations, Universal Waste. What local enforcement agencies need to know about “universal waste.”
Lead Acid Batteries, Hazardous and Responsible Use. Negative health and environmental effects of mishandled batteries, tips on maintaining lead-acid batteries, and information on recycling lead-acid batteries.
10 X 14.5 inches
Battery Poster Details and Downloads
Keep batteries out of the trash. Contact your local household hazardous waste agency. Includes AAA, AA, C, D, button cell, 9-volt, and all other batteries, both rechargeable and single use. Protect the environment and help recover resources. For more information, visit California Department of Toxic Substances Control website.
5 X 5 inches
Battery Sticker Note: This sticker is suitable for use on indoor and outdoor waste receptacles.
Batteries. Keep out of Trash. Contact your local household hazardous waste agency. For more information, visit California Department of Toxic Substances Control website.
- Implementation of the Mercury-Containing and Rechargeable Battery Management Act. U.S. EPA, November, 1997.