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Battery Recycling & Disposal

Batteries can contain toxic heavy metals such as nickel, mercury, and lead which can pollute our air and water if not disposed of properly. UCAR recycles all batteries EXCEPT non-rechargeable alkaline batteries, which can be safely disposed of by placing them in the trash.

Starting February 1, 2013, non-rechargable alkaline batteries should be placed in the trash and will not be collected for special disposal.

Battery Recycling & Disposal FAQ

Which batteries can I recycle?

Please collect all batteries generated by work activities EXCEPT non-rechargeable alkalines for recycling including:

  • rechargeable alkaline
  • rechargeable non-alkaline
  • lead acid
  • lithium
  • nickel-cadmium
  • batteries from laptops and cell phones

YES:

Rechargeable Batteries and Laptop Batteries

NO:

Non-rechargeable Alkaline Batteries

Where can I drop off my batteries from work activities for recycling?

Collection Locations
ML Front Desk
CG1 Front Desk
FL2 Front Desk
Batteries accepted 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

"Small" lithium, nickel-cadmium, rechargeable batteries are accepted at the collection locations. Contact HESS at x8625 or x2409 for pickup of larger batteries, such as automobile, motorcycle or UPS.

Where can I recycle batteries from home?

To dispose of batteries from home, please check with your county's household hazardous waste program for battery recycling opportunities in your area. UCAR CANNOT accept your batteries (or any other recyclable materials) from home.

What are the safety procedures for dropping off batteries?

All batteries must have the ends or terminals taped with clear tape, or must be placed in individual plastic bags, in order to reduce fire hazards from the possibility of batteries short circuiting when rubbing against each other in transit. Department of Transportation (DOT) rules require us to take these precautions when preparing batteries for transport. Collection locations are stocked with tape you may use to cover battery terminals.

Why can't I recycle non-rechargeable alkaline batteries?

Alkaline battery composition includes cardboard and small quantities of non-hazardous common metals such as steel, zinc, and manganese that do not pose a health or environmental risk during normal use and disposal in a landfill. Proven cost-effective, environmentally safe recycling processes are not currently available in our region. UCAR's disposal guidelines follow the recommendations from Boulder County and EcoCycle.

Batteries produced prior to the early 1990s contained mercury, posing a health concern when they were disposed of in the municipal solid waste stream. Since then, battery manufacturers have stopped adding mercury to alkaline batteries.

I have a bunch of alkaline batteries that I've been holding to take to a collection point. What do I do with them now?

You may bring them to a collection point until February 1, 2013. After that, discard spent alkaline batteries in the trash when they are used up, a few at a time. Avoid discarding large numbers of batteries together to prevent a fire hazard.

Which batteries are recommended for office items like my keyboard and mouse?

We recommend using rechargeable batteries for wireless keyboards, mice, and related office use. Rechargeable batteries can be used for many years, and are recyclable at the end of their useful life.

Questions? Please contact Milenda Powers at x8625 or mpowers@ucar.edu.

More information about recycling at NCAR/UCAR is available online from Sustainablility, or by emailing sustainability@ucar.edu.

 


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