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Frequently Asked Questions About Recycling Batteries

Many toys, watches, electronic equipment, and household goods contain batteries. The most common types are alkaline batteries, such as AA or C batteries, nickel cadmium batteries, such as rechargeable AAA or AA batteries, and lithium-ion batteries, the rechargeable batteries commonly used in cell phones and digital cameras. If you have old batteries lying around your home, you may not realize that you can recycle them. Here are a few of the questions you may have about recycling batteries, as well as the answers. 

Are You Legally Required to Recycle Batteries? 

Under federal law, you cannot dispose of nickel, cadmium, and lead batteries in the regular trash. These must be recycled or disposed of in accordance with Universal Waste laws.

All other types of batteries are subjected to recycling laws set by the state. Some states have tougher laws than others. For example, in California, all types of batteries must be recycled or disposed of in accordance with Universal Waste federal laws. Other states, such as Tennessee, are laxer and have no additional laws outside of what is federally required. 

Why Is It Important to Recycle Batteries?

While you may not legally be required to recycle every type of battery you come across and use, there are still many reasons why you should do so. 

The biggest reason why you should recycle batteries is that non-recycled batteries are harmful to the environment. They contain heavy metals and corrosive materials. When sent to a landfill, these items can seep through the soil as the battery breaks down.

From there, the toxins can travel to streams, creeks, rivers, and lakes. The toxins harms our drinking water supply and can harm wildlife that relies on these sources to drink. 

Additionally, batteries are highly flammable and can be hard to put out once on fire. The batteries can spark a huge fire in a landfill or decrease the chances of it becoming contained timely. 

Can You Get Paid to Recycle Batteries?

Yes. Batteries contain nonferrous metal. Metal recyclers will often pay you the going scrap metal or nonferrous metal rates for the batteries you have. It is important to note that rates do fluctuate daily, and you will not get rich selling your old batteries. However, it is nice to get a bit of extra pocket change for doing the right thing. 

Where Can You Recycle Batteries?

The easiest way to find out where you can recycle batteries in your area is to do a search on your computer. If you are unable to locate anyone who takes batteries, call metal recyclers in your area. If they do not recycle the batteries themselves, they should be able to refer you to companies who do. You can also call your local waste management or garbage company. They can provide you with information on how to dispose of items that do not belong in your trash, including batteries.

Lastly, check with home improvement stores, warehouse stores, or electronics companies. Many larger companies, such as Home Depot, Lowes, Best Buy, and Staples have battery recycling bins in the store. If you decide to use one of these bins, it is important to note that you will not get paid. However, convenience may make it an easy option for some people. 

If you are in the greater Knoxville, TN area and are looking for a place to recycle your used batteries, turn to Tennessee Metals Company, LLC. We can help both individuals and businesses turn their old batteries into money while also helping you to do your part to help the environment. Contact us today for more information or to inquire about current recycling rates.