Household Battery Recycling

Household batteries, commonly known as dry cell batteries, are comprised of an anode, a cathode, and an electrolyte. The anode is a positive terminal, the cathode is the negative terminal, and the electrolyte is the chemical solution through which the electrons flow from the anode to the cathode, creating an electrical charge. Various metals are used in the cathodes and anodes. The following summary provides general information on the recycling options for household batteries.


Alkaline and zinc carbon battery types no longer contain mercury and they may be disposed in your normal household trash

NON-RECHARGEABLE BATTERY TYPES


ALKALINE AND ZINC CARBON BATTERIES

Alkaline and Zinc Carbon Batteries typically contain a manganese dioxide cathode and a zinc anode. The electrolyte in an alkaline battery is usually potassium hydroxide or sodium hydroxide, while in a zinc carbon battery the electrolyte is ammonium chloride or zinc chloride. In the past, mercury was added to these batteries to prevent corrosion and the creation of hydrogen gas. Recent laws have restricted the levels of mercury allowed in alkaline and zinc-carbon batteries. Today, alkaline batteries on the market are required to have zero-added mercury and are no longer hazardous.

There are limited options for recycling alkaline and zinc carbon batteries. AERC Recycling Solutions in Allentown (1-866-447-5177) does recycle these battery types.  Please note that AERC charges fees to recycle these battery types.

Alkaline and zinc carbon battery types no longer contain mercury and they may be disposed in your normal household trash

RECHARGEABLE BATTERY TYPES


NICKEL CADMIUM BATTERIES

Nickel cadmium batteries consist of a nickel cathode, a cadmium anode, and an alkaline solution for an electrolyte. These batteries are rechargeable and are found in traditional cylindrical battery sizes as well as in a wide variety of battery packs. The battery packs are used in items such as cordless telephones, cordless power tools, hand-held vacuums and video cameras. Cadmium is a toxic metal that can pose a threat to human health and the environment. Nickel cadmium batteries are labeled with the chemical symbol Ni-Cd.

Call2Recycle is a product stewardship program providing no-cost battery and cell phone recycling solutions across the United States and Canada. Operated by Call2Recycle, Inc., a 501 (c)4 nonprofit public service organization, the program is funded by battery and product manufacturers committed to responsible recycling. For more information on where to recycle nickel cadmium batteries in your area, please visit www.call2recycle.com or call 1-877-273-2925.

This battery type can also be taken to one of our Pennsylvania’s Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Collection Program events

NICKEL METAL HYDRIDE BATTERIES
Nickel metal hydride batteries are more environmentally friendly than nickel cadmium due to the absence of toxic cadmium. The anode is a metal alloy that absorbs hydrogen and the cathode is nickel oxide. The electrolyte is potassium hydroxide. These batteries can be found in camcorders, cell phones and power tools. They have many of the same performance characteristics as nickel cadmium.  These batteries are labeled with the symbol NiMH and have the same recycling options as what is listed for Nickel Cadmium Batteries above.

NICKEL ZINC BATTERIES
Nickel Zinc (Ni-Zn) batteries are newer to the marketplace and can be found in digital cameras and wireless keyboards.  These batteries have the same recycling options as what is listed for Nickel Cadmium Batteries above.

LITHIUM ION BATTERIES
Lithium ion batteries that are rechargeable are most commonly found in digital cameras, cell phones and laptop computers. They contain and use lithium metallic oxide for a cathode and a carbon material as an anode. The electrolyte is a lithium salt.  This battery type can be recycled through Call2Recycle They also can be taken to one of the Pennsylvania HHW Collection events.

RECHARGEABLE BATTERY & CELL PHONE DROP OFF LOCATIONS

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