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Spent batteries do tend to multiply. They wind up as the scourge of many a junk drawer, rolling around in that no-man's land where we put everything we just can't bear to throw away.
It is important to keep batteries out of your garbage. Household alkaline batteries (AA, AAA, C, D, 9-volt, and 6-volt) contain corrosive potassium hydroxide, which poses a long-term problem for landfills. Corrosives in landfills can contribute to the degradation of the cell linings intended to prevent landfill contents from leaking into the soil and groundwater. Not long ago alkaline batteries contained mercury. Thankfully, that is no longer a concern. The corrosive properties of batteries are the main problem today.
Unfortunately, there is no local option for recycling alkaline batteries. Alkaline batteries can be safely discarded in the trash in small quantities. To avoid the proliferation of batteries in your trash, consider rechargeable batteries.
Rechargeable household batteries, including nickel-cadmium (Ni-Cd), nickel metal hydride (Ni-Mh), and lithium ion (Li) batteries are bad news in landfills because they contain heavy metals such as cadmium. These heavy metals combine with water and organic solvents to produce a toxic leachate that can leak out of landfills and threaten groundwater. But rechargeables are still the best alternative since they are reusable so many times and at the end of their lives they are more easily recycled than disposable alkaline batteries.
Rechargeables are an investment (you need to buy a recharger as well as the batteries), but over time you recoup the costs. And, you put a stop to that junk drawer battery breeding problem.
Rechargeable batteries of all types and any non-alkaline batteries such as button batteries can be safely disposed of through any Radio Shack or Home Depot.
Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation, Radio Shack, Target, Best Buy, Sears and Home Depot are all part of the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation. These retailers accept all rechargeable batteries and cell phones for recycling.
Recycling Alkaline Batteries
There are no local or state programs for recycling alkaline batteries. However, your business, household or local recycling center can participate in these Fee-for-Service programs:
- Batteries Plus
Stores located in Billings, Bozeman, Great Falls, Helena, Kalispell, and Missoula. All offer recycling.
- Best Buy
Stores located in Billings, Missoula, and Kalispell. All offer recycling. A "home-haul" service is offered for large electronic items, such as TVs and appliances.
Grainger offers battery recycling and other services as well as selling a wide range of facilities management equipment. State agencies and Cooperative Purchasing Partners may use a term contract between the State of Montana and Grainger which guarantees good prices for Grainger products. Check with your procurement office about utilizing the term contract.
- Battery Solutions, Inc.
This company offers alkaline battery recycling services to households, government agencies and businesses. Visit the website to find out how to take advantage of services, or call 1-800-852-8127.
- The 'Big Green Box' Program (1-877-461-2345)
Purchase postage-paid boxes to collect both alkaline batteries, rechargeable batteries and other items for recycling.
- Air Cycle Corporation
Recycles lamps, batteries, ballasts and electronics.
Easypak Recycling Made Easy
Mail-in recycling with EasyPak prepaid recycling containers. EasyPak lets users recycle fluorescent lamps, CFLs, ballasts, batteries and electronic waste while keeping track of their progress online (888-640-6700).