With an ever-growing list of recycling specifications, doing something positive for the environment can sometimes get confusing. But you don’t have to live in a magical green home or wear an ocean-cleaning bikini to make a difference. April is Earth Month, and the perfect time to learn about little things you can do to help our planet, like taking a cue from The Golden State. Although California is currently the only place in the country where throwing a rechargeable battery in the trash is considered illegal, we think properly recycling them is good practice for everyone.


So in honor of Earth Month and Earth Day (which falls on April 22), we’ve put together a beginner’s guide to help you master the fine art of disposing of batteries the right way.


Single-Use Batteries

Following the Mercury-Containing and Rechargeable Battery Management Act of 1996, the use of dangerous mercury in alkaline batteries was phased out, making them less of a hazard when disposed of in landfills. That being said, they’re still recyclable, and it’s totally worth going the extra mile.

Many cities and counties offer services that collect single-use alkaline batteries during waste collection events, while others have set up drop-off locations and even mail-in programs.

The fact is that batteries are rarely completely dead when you thrown them out. That may not sound like a problem, but if you dispose of them in a group, they’ll likely begin reacting with one another, which can cause serious safety risks. So take an extra step next time and recycle single-use batteries, then give yourself a high five.

AA battery and recharge

Rechargeable Batteries

Batteries come in all shapes, sizes and compositions. But whether we’re talking about the AA battery in your remote or the specialty one in your phone, rechargeable batteries should always be recycled. They contain valuable heavy metals, like lithium-ion, which shouldn’t be dumped in a landfill because a) they’re bad for the planet and b) there are better uses for them.

What are you supposed to do with these batteries once they’ve stopped working? The first step would be to look up the Call2Recycle program by the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC), a nonprofit founded by Duracell. Simply visit their website, and they’ll be able to help you find the rechargeable battery recycling location that’s closest to you. Once you’ve got the address, drop ’em all off and they’ll take care of the rest.

Car battery isolated on white background

Car Batteries

These batteries contain lead, so disposing of them properly is extremely important. The good news is that most car dealers and service centers are actually willing to buy used car batteries for recycling. That means you can make some green while doing something green. Hooray!

Do you recycle your batteries? Tweet us @BritandCo.

(Feature photo via Getty)